MIAMI — World tennis number one Serena Williams fought back from a set down to beat Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and win the Sony Open for a record sixth time on Saturday.
Williams becomes only the fourth woman in the Open era to win the same WTA tournament six times, joining Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf.
Second-ranked Sharapova has now lost to Williams in their last 11 meetings and has not beaten the American since her two victories in 2004.
The match was Sharapova’s fifth Miami final and her fifth defeat.
The Russian, who won at Indian Wells earlier this month, took her great form into the opening set, almost breaking Williams in a marathon third game featuring some outstanding baseline rallies.
Sharapova, playing sparkling all-round tennis, got her reward when she broke to go 3-2, with a powerful backhand shot that Williams could only return to the net.
Williams broke back straight away though, but a confident Sharapova took advantage of some over-hitting from the American to break in the ninth game and served out to win the set.
It looked as though Sharapova had a real chance to finally end her nine-year winless streak against the American but, as so often, Williams refound her game in the second.
After some entertaining exchanges, a double-fault from Sharapova handed Williams a break point and the Russian’s return to the net gave Williams a 5-3 lead and she held to force the third set.
The match turned decisively in Williams’ favour when Sharapova produced two double-faults to go down 3-0 in the third set and the Russian never was able to claw back from that position.