Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova have been crowned Italian Open champions after winning their respective finals.
Djokovic boosted his hopes of completing a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros after he lived up to his top billing by brushing aside old rival Roger Federer, while Sharapova came back from one set down to beat 10th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro. After dropping a set in each of his first three matches in Rome, Djokovic beat David Ferrer in straight sets in the semi-final before proving he was back to his best as he humbled Federer 6-4, 6-3 to capture his fifth title of the year. Djokovic and Federer were meeting for the 39th time and top seed Djokovic narrowed his opponent's overall lead to 20-19. With one week to go until the French Open, the Serb extended his unbeaten run to 22 matches as he added to the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo titles he has won this season. "So far, this is the best season of my life," Djokovic, who needs to win the French Open to complete his grand slam collection, told reporters. "I don't know how it will go at Roland Garros, but I'm very confident. I'm playing with great joy and concentration and I hope to continue. "This has been a very exciting week and today was my best match. It's always a big challenge to play Roger and obviously I'm very pleased." World number two Federer admitted there was not much he could do after being ousted in just 75 minutes. "Novak was rock-solid today, he played great throughout. He made very few unforced errors. I'm happy, feeling good and healthy," he said. The first set went with serve until the final game when Djokovic rifled a return winner that clipped the edge of the tramline and converted his first set point. The Serb never looked in danger after breaking again in the second game of the second set and wrapped up the title when Federer hit a forehand out on match point.
Sharapova battles back to world number two
Earlier, Russian Sharapova ground down Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to claim the 35th WTA title of her career. Third seed Sharapova looked slugging against her Spanish opponent in the first set and Suarez Navarro fought back from 1-3 and 3-5 down in the second to level at 5-5. But Sharapova reeled off the next two games and tore through the decider against the tiring 10th seed, winning 29 of the set's 43 points, to seal victory in more than two and a half hours with her 39th winner. Sharapova will climb to number two in the world rankings next week and will be seeded second at the French Open.