Re: Rome 2011 vs Rome 2012
The semi against Wozniacki last year was the best Maria played in 2011, but she has been playing MUCH better this year at several tournaments.
I think her game was much sharper and agressive this year, not only the serve but also the movement, and she beat much tougher opposition. She was sublime against Ivanovic, Kerber and Venus (in patches) and tough as nails against Li. 2012 takes the cake for me. Plus I have to agree that Victoria retiring last year takes a bit away from the sweetness of that title.
Regardless, Stuttgart 2012 > all her other clay titles. She was magnificent from the QFs on, especially in the final.