Memphis, Tennessee:Top-seeded Maria Sharapova defeated Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-2, 6-1 to win the Cellular South Cup on Saturday.
Sharapova, the world's 16th-ranked player, had played only one match this season prior to Memphis, losing in the opening round of last month's Australian Open.
The layoff didn't appear to affect 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.
Sharapova is expected to rise to No. 13, her highest world ranking since January 2009, when the WTA rankings are updated Monday.
"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."
On the men's side, Sam Querrey and John Isner both advanced to the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships just days after they were selected to represent the United States in the Davis Cup tie against Serbia in March.
Isner beat Philipp Petzschner of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals on Saturday before Querrey defeated hard-hitting Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 6-4.
"It's awesome," Querrey said of the two making the U.S. team and reaching Sunday's final. "Kind of a confidence booster for us."
For the first time since 2000, neither Andy Roddick nor James Blake will be on the U.S. team. That's a span of 25 Davis Cup ties. Querrey will be making his second appearance for the U.S. team while Isner will be making his Davis Cup debut.
Querrey beat Roddick 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 on Friday in the quarterfinals.
The 6-foot-9 (2.06-meter) Isner and 6-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey are good friends and practice partners, but have never faced each other professionally. It will be the tallest final ever on tour, according to the ATP.
The eighth-seeded Querrey broke Gulbis at 1-1 of the second set, then held on for the win. Gulbis, No. 99 in the world ranking, erased three match points before he was long on a backhand.
Isner's match was on serve in the final set before he broke Petzschner to take a 5-3 lead. He then served out the match, rallying from 15-40 after a double fault.
The sixth-seeded Isner, who improved to 12 wins form 13 matches this year, said his ability to convert key points made the difference.
"The match did hinge on one or two points, that's for sure," Isner said. "I was lucky to come out on the right side of it."