SEVEN years after Maria Sharapova won her first - and only - Australian Open in a straight-sets final against Ana Ivanovic, the world No.2 has warmed-up for her latest attempt by claiming her 34th career title at the Brisbane International.
The victim: Ivanovic. The score: 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3.
The Evonne Goolagong Trophy was claimed on Sharapova's third championship point, with a last, netted Ivanovic forehand.
After a relieved victory shriek, the Russian dashed over to embrace her support team, a marvellous final having lasted two hours and 39 minutes, and given Sharapova a chance of overtaking world No.1 Serena Williams by the end of the month.
"I couldn't think of a better preparation than here in Brisbane," said Sharapova, who had lost just nine games in her first three matches.
Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au