BEIJING (AFP) – Maria Sharapova overcame a fierce challenge from Petra Kvitova on Sunday to win the China Open, her first title since she claimed victory at Roland Garros earlier this year.
It was a battling performance from the Russian world number four, who will rise to number two in the rankings following her hard-fought 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win in Beijing, Kvitova’s first loss in nine games.
The fourth seed appeared to have carried into the final the determination she showed in her powerful 6-0, 6-4 semi-final defeat of Serbian world number nine Ana Ivanovic.
Kvitova, the world number three, broke serve in the first game, but Sharapova fought back to force three break-points in the fourth, before deservedly breaking serve at the next opportunity.
With Sharapova at 5-4 ahead, Kvitova dragged two cross-court shots wide to give her opponent the set.
But the Czech 24-year-old was dominant in the second set, racing to a 4-1 lead as she forced her opponent to stretch for a series of powerful baseline drives that were beyond reach.