Key Biscayne, FL – A different opponent produced a similar result for Maria Sharapova in Saturday's Sony Open final.
World No. 1 Serena Williams continued her head-to-head dominance with the Russian star, capturing her record sixth Miami title by rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on a sun-splashed afternoon.
Williams claimed the final 10 games en route to her 48th career title. She won this event three consecutive years from 2002-04 and captured back-to-back championships in 2007 and '08.
It was far from an easy task, as Williams admitted during an on-court interview following the match, "Yeah, (Sharapova) definitely pushed me."
In the opening set, Sharapova failed to convert three break points in a third game that lasted roughly 14 minutes and featured eight deuces. Sharapova, however, broke Williams to go up 3-2.
Williams then consolidated a break with a hold for a 4-3 lead, but Sharapova won the next three games to take a set against Williams for the first time since 2008. The American great had won their past 13 sets dating back to a quarterfinal at Charleston.
The third-seeded Sharapova, who was riding an 11-match winning streak that included a triumph at Indian Wells two weeks ago, broke at love to go up 3-2 in the second set, but it was all Williams from that point on.
Williams broke Sharapova on a successful challenge to open the third set, then went up 3-0 after Sharapova committed back-to-back double faults. The 2-hour, 8-minute bout came to a close with an unreturnable serve from the champion.
The 31-year-old Williams fired six aces and was a perfect 7-for-7 on break- point opportunities.
Williams, who became the fourth woman in the Open Era to win the same tournament six times, improved to 12-2 against Sharapova. She has won 11 straight meetings since losing in the final at the 2004 WTA Championships.
For Sharapova, it was another disappointing outcome in Miami.
A five-time Key Biscayne finalist, the Florida resident has yet to break through with a win. She lost to Kim Clijsters in 2005, Svetlana Kuznetsova in '06, Victoria Azarenka in '11 and Agnieszka Radwanska last year.
The match between Williams and Sharapova marked the 110th in WTA history, including the fourth in Miami, that spotlighted the top two ranked players on tour.