Sharapova rallies to beat Suarez Navarro for third Rome title

Rome, Italy ( - Maria Sharapova captured her third Italian Open title with a three-set victory over Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday.

Sharapova, who also won here in 2011 and 2012, rallied past the 10th-seeded Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. The Russian improved to 4-1 lifetime against Suarez Navarro.

Suarez Navarro won the first set and fought back from 1-3 and 3-5 down in the second to level at 5-5.

But the third-seeded Sharapova won back-to-back love games to sneak out the second set, 7-5, and then tore through the third set.

"It wasn't easy to find a rhythm out there, with the way she plays, and the wind - I really had to adjust," Sharapova said. "But I'm proud I was able to stay in there. I never felt I was playing very clean until the end of the third set. So it shows that it's good to hang in there and just stay positive out there.

"In the end I was the fresher one, and the more aggressive one, so it's all a positive. And looking at how I started the clay court season in Stuttgart and where I am now, I feel I'm in a much better spot."

Sharapova improved to 35-23 in finals, including a victory over Ana Ivanovic in the Brisbane season-opener.

Suarez Navarro fell to 1-8 in title matches. The Spaniard reached a pair of title matches earlier this year, falling to Serena Williams in the Miami final after having to withdraw from the Antwerp final in February because of a neck injury. Her lone triumph came last year in Portugal.

Sharapova will surpass Simona Halep for the No. 2 spot when the new WTA rankings are released on Monday. Suarez Navarro will move up two spots to No. 8.