Top-seeded Maria Sharapova defeated Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-2, 6-1 to win the Cellular South Cup.
The three-time Grand Slam champion never dropped a set as she breezed through the field of this lower-tier event to win her 21st career title.
“Coming in here, I asked for matches and I got five of them and I got the win, so I’m certainly happy,” she said. “I felt like I played consistent tennis throughout the week and did the right things against all my opponents. I guess that’s a good week.”
Sharapova had shoulder surgery in February 2009 and dropped outside the top 10 for the first time in five years. She dropped as far as No. 126 before rebounding to close the year at No. 14. She said is continuing to make progress.
“Little by little I’m getting there,” she said. “The more matches I play, the more confident I get. From there, things will start to fall into place and the instinct will come back a little more.”
Arvidsson, the 102nd-ranked player in the world and 2006 Memphis champion, was seeking the second title of her career. Instead, she could not keep pace with the deep, penetrating groundstrokes and overall power of Sharapova.
During one stretch of the match, Sharapova won nine straight games. In the first set, she won 15 of the final 18 points.
“She is a good player,” Arvidsson said. “You need to be on fire when you play her. She was just too good.”
In the second set, Sharapova struggled briefly with her serve and faced two break points in the opening game and another in the third. But she saved each one and won the final game of the match with a love service game.
“For me, it was about playing my game and being aggressive,” Sharapova said. “I wanted to take the ball and try to do something with it instead of just letting her play her own game.”