Sharapova has been collecting clay court titles recently, including the 2011 and 2012 Rome crowns and Stuttgart and Madrid in what has been a perfect 2014 clay court season so far. Puerto Rican No.1 Puig snapped a three-match losing streak by winning two qualifying matches and her first round match in Rome over Daniela Hantuchova.
The Turning Point
Sharapova trailed 2-0, 30-15 in the first set before righting the ship and winning three straight games and six of the next seven. The match appeared headed for a third set when Puig went out to a 4-1 second set lead, but once again Sharapova rallied and once again won three straight games and six of the next seven for a 6-3, 7-5 triumph.
By The Numbers
This was Sharapova's 16th straight win here, where she is now 21-2 overall. It was also her 12th straight win this season, with all 12 of those wins having come on clay.
"I had a little bit of a slow start," Sharapova said. "Any tournament, with new conditions and new surroundings, it took me a little bit to get a good feeling out there. But once I did, I felt really strong and I'm happy I was able to close the match out after being down in the second set.
"She's a very aggressive player. She doesn't back away. So that was challenging, but I thought I did a really good job of recovering from that."
Sharapova plays No.11 seed Ivanovic, whom she beat for the seventh straight time a few weeks ago in the Stuttgart final.
"She's always a challenging opponent, especially on clay, where some of her greatest success has come," Sharapova said. "I can't take that match lightly and I look forward to a good match tomorrow."