Sharapova completes Grand Slam in Paris
PARIS THE 188-centimeter Maria Sharapova won the French Open on Saturday, defeating her tiny Italian opponent, Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2 in the final at Roland Garros to complete the career Grand Slam.
“I believe in my game,” Sharapova said. “I think that’s one of the reasons I’m sitting here with my fourth one and winning Roland Garros, because I always believed I could be a better player.” Second-seeded Sharapova, who was guaranteed of moving to No. 1 in the rankings regardless of the result, jumped to a quick 4-0 lead against the 21st-seeded Errani, who was in her first Grand Slam final.
But Errani battled back on a cool, blustery day in Paris, turning what had the makings of a blowout into an 89-minute endurance contest, filled with long rallies that forced Sharapova to find another gear. Eventually, Sharapova’s bigger serve and bigger groundstrokes wore down Errani, who is 163 centimeters tall.
“She won many points with her serve or in the first two or three shots,” Errani said. “It was difficult.
I couldn’t play long points like I wanted to play.” When Errani netted a short backhand on the third match point, Sharapova dropped gingerly to the clay to start the celebration, then reached back and looked heavenward – a long, hard road back to the top finally capped with the only major title that had eluded her.
Sharapova won the trophy at Roland Garros about three years after dropping as low as 126th in the rankings after shoulder surgery that threatened her career.
She rededicated herself to the game and made a special effort to improve on red clay, the surface on which she moved to 16-0 this year.
She did it knowing it wasn’t really necessary. She’s a millionaire many times over, her endorsement cachet full – as comfortable on the red carpet as she now is on the red clay.
“I’ve had so many outs and I could’ve said I don’t need this,” she said. “I could’ve said, ‘I’ve got the money, I’ve got the fame, I’ve got the career victories and Grand Slams.’ But when your love for the game is bigger than those things, that’s when you continue to get up.” She added this year’s French Open title to championships at Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 to become only the 10th woman to win all four major tournaments, joining players such as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King.