- Maria Sharapova powers past world No.1 Victoria Azarenka to win WTA clay-court tournament in Stuttgart
- Azarenka troubled by a wrist injury was no match for the Russian who claims her first title of 2012
Maria Sharapova produced a powerful performance to defeat world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in the final of the WTA clay-court event in Stuttgart on Sunday.
The Russian took just 84 minutes to blow the Belarusian off court in straight sets 6-1 6-4 and claim her first title of 2012 and the 25th of her career.
Azarenka wasn't at her best and needed treatment for a wrist injury in the first set, but Sharapova showed no mercy ramming home the advantage and closing out the set in 30 minutes.
The reigning Australian Open champion was more resolute in the second but a break of serve for Sharapova in the seventh game enabled her to go on and take the match without hindrance.
"I am just happy to win, it's a good tournament with very good players. It's a shame she was injured and couldn't play her normal game. I am just happy to have won the tournament," the world No.2 said afterwards.
"I came to Europe a bit earlier than normal before the French Open and was just going to use this tournament as a warm-up, but it works for me."
The win was revenge for Sharapova who lost to Azarenka in the Australian Open final in January and more recently in the final of the Indian Wells tournament in California.
Azarenka said her wrist had been troubling her all week but wasn't looking for excuses in defeat.
"Congratulations to Maria, she's had a good week here. I am disappointed, of course, but I had a good week here as well and I am looking forward to coming back next year," Azarenka said.
Sharapova takes home a cheque for $115,000 and a new sports car.