sport

German hat-trick for Sharapova

Maria Sharapova secured a hat-trick of Stuttgart titles after coming from behind to beat Ana Ivanovic in Sunday's final.

The 27-year-old Russian was pushed all the way in Germany to successfully come through her 30th final win of her career to get her her hands on the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix trophy again with a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory.

After the lively two-hour contest, Sharapova said: "That was a tough bit of work. I have always believed in my chances and the fighting spirit is something that comes from within me."

This was the first time Sharapova has claimed a third title at an individual tournament and is yet another positive step in getting back to her best following last year's shoulder injury.

"This time around it's been extremely tough, that's why this win is so special," added Sharapova who picked up a cheque for 96,774 euros (around 80,000) and a new sports car.

New garage

"I will need to build a new garage to get all the cars in!"

It is the Russian's first claycourt tournament in her build-up to the French Open (which starts on May 25), having lost to Serena Williams in last year's final.

"We have seen what a great player Maria is," admitted Ivanovic.

Ninth seed Ivanovic started the match really brightly, racing into a 5-0 lead in the first set and finally took it despite some late resistance from the defending champion.

Having won her previous tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, last month, Ivanovic appeared to be on her way to an easy win when leading 3-1 in the second, but the match turned on its head when Sharapova broke serve and soon restored parity at one-set all.

Ivanovic had been chasing her first win over the Russian since the 2007 French Open semi-final but the 26-year-old Serbian ran out of steam as Sharapova eased over the line winning 11 of the last 13 games.