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Sharapova storms to career Grand Slam

Maria Sharapova returns to No.1
by Alexandra Willis
Saturday 9 June 2012

It was pretty much never in doubt. Maria Sharapova marked her return to the top of the world rankings with her first French Open title, the quartet of Grand Slam singles titles finally fully assembled on her mantlepiece. 

And it couldn't happen to a more deserving person. Sharapova, as icily cool as a fun sponge, cheered on by her meagre entourage of just three, watched by Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport, was ruthless in her dismantling of Grand Slam debutante Sara Errani on Philippe Chatrier Court. 

The Italian, whose previous best at Roland Garros was a second round appearance last year, arrived in the final with one piece of silverware already in her luggage to take home, the French Open doubles title. But the second was seemingly never close to being in her grasp. 

As Sharapova wheeled away to a 4-0 first set lead, pundits began to wonder if we might see a repeat of the infamous Steffi Graf double bagel. Her previously wobbly first serve firing at an uncharacteristically high percentage, Sharapova let Errani back within one break, before serving out the first set 6-3 after 36 minutes. 

Having dropped behind two breaks at the start of the second set, it looked for a moment like the Italian might terrier her way back into her first Grand Slam final, breaking the Sharapova serve at 1-4 to reduce the deficit to just one break. But the Russian scorched her way through four returns to break Errani straight back. 

Stepping up to serve for her spot on the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, the volume of both players' outputs getting louder and louder, Sharapova was made to work for three match points, finally burying the ball in the corner, and dropping to her knees on the Parisian red clay. 

Mouthing the words "oh my god" to her box, she cemented her place among 10 other women to have completed the career Grand Slam. 

"It's probably the most special moment of my career," she said, after brief hilarity ensued when she was mistakenly announced to the Philippe Chatrier crowd as 'the runner-up,' much to Errani's good-natured amusement. 

With a beaming smile on her face as she accepted the French Open trophy from Monica Seles, eight years after winning her first Grand Slam singles title, Sharapova can truly be called a legend of the game. 

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Related Photos & Videos

  • Maria Sharapova
  • Maria Sharapova
  • Sara Errani
  • Jiske Griffioen, Yui Kamiji, Aniek Van Koot and Jordanne Whiley shake hands after their final.
  • Yui Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley pose with their runner-up medals.
  • Ladies' wheelchair winners Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot with finalists Yui Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley.
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