Who could believe that Maria Sharapova once hated clay? Today the Russian lifted yet another major claycourt trophy by beating Simona Halep in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open to become the only active WTA player who has won all the current European Premier clay tournaments. Moreover, her claycourt record this year is perfect 11-0, plus, she's lost just three of her last 49 matches on the surface, since losing in the semifinals of the 2011 French Open.
In Sunday's final against Halep, Sharapova quickly lost the first set 6-1, but in the second saved all three Halep's break opportunities and converted both that she herself earned. In the decider Sharapova took a 4-1 lead, then allowed Halep to take one break back, but the surging Romanian couldn't stop the Russian on her quest to the 31st title of her illustrious career. Final score: 1-6 6-2 6-3.
We hope that you enjoyed Women's Tennis Blog's coverage of Madrid and the exclusive shots of our photographer Jimmie48 from Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Jimmie48 is now taking a short break before packing his gear for Nürnberg, so stay tuned!