It was tense, it was topsy-turvey, and to make things even more complicated, the Rome final was suspended due to rain before the third-set tiebreak (what a moment to stop the match!), but when the play resumed it was defending champion Maria Sharapova who had the edge over Li Na and won her second claycourt title this season.
With the 2011 French Open champion Li leading a set and 4-0, the momentum changed as Sharapova took eight straight games. In the third set, Sharapova looked to be racing to victory while leading 4-1 (an advantage of two breaks), but then her unforced errors crept in and Li was ready to take the opportunity. The Chinese quickly worked her way back and the result was leveled to 4-4, just like in both previous sets. Li then held her serve for 5-4 and put Sharapova in the position to serve to stay in the match. As if the match was not uncertain enough, at 6-4 4-6 5-5 30-30 it was suspended due to rain, on Sharapova’s suggestion to chair umpire Kader Nouni. Luckily, only moments later the play resumed. At 6-5 for Li, Sharapova handed her a match point by making a huge mistake on the net, missing a smash, but she managed to pull off the tense service game and take the decision on the tournament winner to the tiebreak. However, it was not that simple. Heavy rain drenched the courts and the tiebreak had to be postponed.
After two hours, Sharapova and Li returned to the court and Sharapova ended the match after two hours and 52 minutes of play winning the tiebreak 7-5. Final score: 4-6 6-4 7-6(5). (photo: Ralf Reinecke)