Many players on the WTA have been responsible for some memorable moments, but some more than most have defined this era, and that certainly can’t be debated when we talk about the most recent champions at the WTA Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome, like we did for the Last 5 ATP Internazionali BNL D’Italia Finals. One will go down as probably the best player of all time, whilst the other will be recognised as a great player who ultimately continued to come up short against the former. These two women are unsurprisingly Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, who have opened their own private winners club at the Foro Italico over the last 5 years. With Maria Sharapova returning from her drugs suspension, will 2017 see a return to the final in Rome? Time will tell, but in the meantime TennisTrumpet will tell the tale of the last 5 finals at the WTA Premier 5 Event in Rome:
2012: Maria Sharapova bt. Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5)
Up until the 2012 WTA Internazionali BNL D’Italia final, Maria Sharapova had been in 4 finals in the season to date losing 3 of them in the process. Following a final that went to wire, which was finally settled by a match tie-break after three entertaining sets of clay court tennis, she raised the trophy above her head for the second time at the Italian Open. Her opponent, Li Na lost her second final of the year and for the second time in the season against her Russian counterpart, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Li Na as she would eventually qualify for the WTA championships at the end of the season.
WTA: Maria Sharapova vs Li Na
2013: Serena Williams bt. Victoria Azarenka 6-1,6-3
Williams made it a Mediterranean double at the Foro Italico, following her success in Madrid a week earlier, with a commanding victory over her rival Victoria Azarenka. After taking her first win in 10 matches against Serena, Azarenka would have been feeling confident that she could make it 2 in 2. However, Williams did what she does best and imposed herself on the match, beating the Belarusian for the 12th time on the WTA tour.
2014: Serena Williams bt. Sara Errani 6-3,6-0
Serena Williams defended her crown at the Italian Open for the first time, taking the title home for the third time, as she conquered Sara Errani the home favourite for 7th time in 7 outings for the loss of 3 games. Their head to head record reads worse today, with Williams leading their series 9-0, with Errani taking just 2 sets in their 9 meetings. However, the two players would fare differently at the French Open a week later as Williams crashed out in the second round and Errani reached the quarter finals.
2015: Maria Sharapova bt. Carla Suárez Navarro 4-6,7-5,6-1
Sharapova claimed her third title in Rome, following a 3-set scrap over then Spanish number 1 at the time Carla Suárez Navarro. It was Maria’s second title of the season following her success in January over Ana Ivanovic at Brisbane, where she ironically beat Navarro on the way to lifting the trophy. Over the side of the net it was a different story, as Carla lost her second final of the year, following her defeat in Miami at the hands of Serena Williams.
WTA: Maria Sharapova vs Carla Suárez Navarro Highlights
WTA: Best Moments of Rome 2015
2016: Serena Williams bt. Madison Keys 7-6(5),6-3
Serena Williams won her first title of the 2016 season, as she overcame Madison Keys for the third time in three meetings without the loss of a set. Madison Keys who was appearing in her first final at WTA Premier level put up a decent fight against someone who you can only imagine was her hero growing up as an aspiring tennis player. It was Serena’s third title in 4 years and fourth in total at the Foro Italico, as she drew level with Cochinita Martínez and Gabriela Sabatini becoming the joint 2nd most successful player in the tournament’s history.
WTA: Serena Williams vs Madison Keys Highlights
Cover image – Getty Images