Brisbane, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Maria Sharapova rallied for a three- set win over Ana Ivanovic on Saturday to capture the season-opening Brisbane International tennis tournament.
Sharapova blew an early lead in the first set and dropped the opener in a tiebreaker, but came back to earn a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final for her 34th career title.
The top-seeded Russian won four times in 2014, capturing her second French Open title along the way, and has now claimed at least one WTA crown every year since 2003. She will try for her sixth career Grand Slam championship when the Australian Open begins on Jan. 19.
Sharapova's only Aussie Open crown came back in 2008 when she beat Ivanovic in the final.
Ivanovic, who also won four times in 2014, split four meetings with Sharapova last year. Sharapova won a final in Stuttgart and a semifinal in Beijing, while Ivanovic prevailed in a semifinal at Cincinnati and a third-rounder in Rome.
Sharapova opened a quick 4-1 lead in the first set Saturday and had a pair of set points at 5-4. Ivanovic, though, battled back and won it in a tiebreaker after 62 minutes.
The second-seeded Serb failed to earn a break-point chance in the second set and was broken twice, allowing Sharapova to force a third. Another early break in the third gave Sharapova the edge and she did not yield the advantage.
"She got back the balls that I thought weren't coming over the net," said Ivanovic. "That's why she's where she is, and that's why she's such a great champion."
Sharapova improved to 10-4 lifetime against Ivanovic, including 3-0 in finals.
Ivanovic fell to 15-8 all-time in title matches, while Sharapova improved to 34-22.