Amelia Island:Top seed Maria Sharapova won her first claycourt title by defeating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 in the final of the $600,000 WTA Amelia Island tournament.
The Australian Open champ Sharapova dispatched Cibulkova in just under two hours yesterday for her third title of the year and 19th of her career.
It was the first championship on clay for the 20-year-old Sharapova, who had been 0-3 in previous showings.
Despite being a heavy favourite at the tier II event, Sharapova was challenged on the green clay here by Cibulkova before earning 95,500 dollars for the win.
The Russian beauty was well rested as she walked over in Saturday's semi-finals against American Lindsay Davenport, who could not play due to an illness.
The 18-year-old Cibulkova battled evenly with Sharapova in the first set, one that the Russian won in the tiebreak only when the Slovakian dumped a forehand into the net.
The 34th-ranked Slovak was appearing in her maiden WTA Tour final and it was the first career meeting with Sharapova.
Cibulkova has made an impressive run through the draw with upsets of No. 2 Anna Chakvetadze, 11th-seeded Amelie Mauresmo and No. 14 Victoria Azarenka.