Sharapova wins maiden French Open title
Maria Sharapova became the 10th woman in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles when she defeated Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in the French Open final.
Maria Sharapova became the 10th woman in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles when she defeated Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in the French Open final. (All AFP and AP Images)
The French Open title for Sharapova follows her Grand Slam triumphs at Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 and it crowns her return from a serious shoulder injury that nearly wrecked her career.
The French Open championship ceremony had a comedy of errors when the newly-crowned Roland Garros champion was introduced as the runner-up.
"It's a magical moment in my career. "No matter how many Grand Slams you win ... if it was my only one it would be just as special as it would be winning my fourth." Sharapova said.
Sharapova had already climbed to No. 1 in the rankings after her semi-final win over Petra Kvitova.
Errani, when told that her runner-up finish would put her in the world top 10 for the first time, replied: "I don't feel like top 10, but I will be top 10, so it's incredible for me and I can't believe it."
It was the first meeting between the two and the contrasts were stark - notably in height with the 1.88m tall Sharapova towering 24cm above the little Italian.
The Russian, playing in her first final at Roland Garros at her 10th attempt, moved 3-0 up and then converted a third break point to take a 4-0 lead.
Errani saved two set points at 2-5 and 15-40 down on serve in the eighth game as she started to pull Sharapova from side to side, but the Russian, despite another double fault, served out for the set.
Sharapova broke again to open the second set and moved 2-0 up as the Roland Garros centre court faithful tried to lift the morale of the outgunned Italian.
The fifth game of the set was crucial as Sharapova opened her shoulders to hit some big winners, converting her third break point to go 4-1 ahead when a net-charging Errani failed to deal with a hard, angled drive from the Russian.
The Russian sealed her career Grand Slam on her third championship point when Errani failed to return an angled backhand.