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Sharapova & Halep Look Back On Final

Maria Sharapova put on quite the spectacle in Madrid on Sunday and they might get the chance to do it all again at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

Published May 12, 2014 12:12

Sharapova & Halep Look Back On Final
Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep

Maria Sharapova was certainly not flawless in Madrid - in fact she came perilously close to defeat on a couple of occasions - but in taking home the title she showed a quality integral to success on clay: fighting spirit.

Her ability to wriggle her way out of tight spots against Christina McHale and Li Na, and dig in to weather an early storm against Simona Halep in the final, kept intact her perfect record on clay this year, whilst also boding well for her chances of lifting the ultimate prize, the French Open.

After an unconvincing start to the campaign, Sharapova has rediscovered that winning habit on the dirt and will fancy her chances of capturing a second French Open crown, particularly with Serena Williams' injury concerns.

However, the Russian is not allowing her mind to wander, instead concentrating on enjoying her tennis.

"I don't take these moments for granted because I know what it's like to be out and injured and trying to find your way back just to play tennis," Sharapova said after the final. "I really enjoy playing this sport. I like the work that I put in, and I want to get the opportunities to be in the final. So it doesn't matter if I'm playing on the moon or in Madrid, to be in the final position is an honor."

Sharapova's next engagement comes this week in Rome, where she is bidding to recapture the title she won in 2011 and 2012. As one of the Top 8 seeds, she has the luxury of a first round bye and will not begin her campaign until Wednesday, when she will take on either Monica Puig or Daniela Hantuchova.

Also lurking in her section of the draw is Halep, who she is seeded to meet in the quarterfinals.

Halep's displays in Madrid did her burgeoning reputation no harm and despite letting a one-set lead slip in the final is accentuating the positives.

"I started very well, but she came back very well and deserves the title," Halep said. "She's a great competitor and she's fighting for every moment, every point. I learned a lot of things today.

"I don't have regrets. I'm just happy and want to enjoy the result, because my result, it's very big and it's a great experience to play the final in the biggest tournaments."

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