Sharapova beats Halep in Madrid final

 

The Sports Network

Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Maria Sharapova fought back from a sluggish start to beat Simona Halep 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in Sunday's final at the Madrid Open.

Sharapova seemed on course for a second consecutive runner-up finish at this clay court event after a first set in which she was broken three times and committed four double faults.

The eighth-seeded Russian, who lost to Serena Williams in the 2013 Madrid final, turned things around to extend her winning streak on red clay to 11 matches and capture a 31st career title.

"I really wanted to go one extra step this year and it's been such a great week," Sharapova said.

After winning 76 percent of her service points in the opening set, the fourth-seeded Halep was broken twice in the second set.

Sharapova earned two more breaks on errant backhands en route to grabbing a 4-1 lead in the third set. A sloppy service game by Sharapova gave Halep a break at love. The Romanian then closed to within 4-3 with a solid hold, but she netted a backhand on match point to be broken a fifth time.

"I was enjoying this week and I'm sad that this week is finished. I'm not sad because I lost. I'm sad because this week is finished for me and I can't wait to play here next year," said Halep, who had been 7-0 in three-set matches this season.

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