The Italian Open is on in full swing at Rome and it witnessed one of its most epic matches when former world no.1, Maria Sharapova defeated Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in a quarter-final which lasted for three hours.
The first set alone lasted more than an hour- 80 minutes to be precise as Sharapova looked down and out, trailing 4-1 at one point. But she bought back like a champion to take it to a tie-breaker, but eventually lost the first set 6-7. But the Russian rallied in the second set, winning it comfortably at 6-4.
The third and final set brought more drama to the scene. Sharapova led 4-2 and then at 5-3, she was serving for the match, but committed yet another double fault, which her game was littered with. She had two match points in the next game, but failed to capitalize, letting Ostapenko level the scores at 5-5. Eventually, she broke Ostapenko to win the set and the match score read 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 to Sharapova.
With this win, Sharapova advanced to the semi-final in Rome and is set to face Romanian, Simona Halep after she won her match against Caroline Garcia of France with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 thrashing.
This victory could not have at a better time as the French Open is just around the corner. The practice in clay courts will be very useful for her come the Grand Slam. Sharapova’s desire and ability to dig deep ware there for all to see and it sends out a warning to all her rivals that the Russian is back and ready to compete.
Sharapova will be looking to improve her world ranking as she is currently ranked no. 40 in the world. The fact that she beat the defending French Open champion should be motivation enough for her to play more aggressive tennis in her bid to win.