Maria Sharapova overpowered Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open
Maria Sharapova overpowered Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open and become the 10th woman to complete a career grand slam. The newly crowned world No1 was too strong, too experienced and, on the day, simply too good for the unheralded 21st seed as she clinched her fourth grand slam victory.
Three years after her return to the tour after eight months out with a shoulder injury, the 25-year-old Russian fell to her knees after taking her third match point, adding the French Open title to her 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open victories.
At just 5ft 4in, the Italian Errani was giving away nine and a half inches and a wealth of experience to Sharapova, who was appearing in her seventh grand slam final and her third in the past four. Beaten at Wimbledon by Petra Kvitova and in Melbourne by Victoria Azarenka, Sharapova was the overwhelming favourite against a player few would have backed to reach her first grand slam final.
On another blustery day in Paris, any early Sharapova nerves were settled with an early break as she raced ahead 4-0 before dropping her serve for the first time. When Errani was able to develop a rally, her tactical nous gave her a chance and she held for 4-2, but after missing two set points at 5-3, Sharapova stayed firm on her serve to take the opening set with a superb backhand winner.
The crowd packed into Court Philippe Chatrier were firmly behind Errani, who won the doubles title here on Friday and who mixed drop shots with successful forays to the net. But the Italian’s biggest problem was that her biggest weakness, her serve, fed Sharapova’s biggest strength, her return of serve. The Russian hammered anything short and the resultant pressure was too much for Errani to handle.
Sharapova again took an early break in the second set before saving a break point and breaking again to lead 4-1. Errani did strike back in the next game, but Sharapova immediately restored her advantage and served out for victory.