Paris: Maria Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam on Saturday, handily defeating Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open and join a prestigious list of women to win all four majors.
The 25-year-old Russian capitalized on her power advantage and took control of the match early, breaking Errani in her first service game and four times after to win in an efficient 89 minutes. Sharapova won a whopping 70 percent of points on the Italian`s second serve and more than half of all return points.
When Errani netted a ball on the third match point, Sharapova fell to her knees, raised her arms to the sky and jumped up and down in the middle of the court. The win was her first in a Slam since a shoulder injury sidelined her for 10 months in 2009.
Errani was a surprise finalist at Roland Garros. She entered ranked No. 24 in the world and had never advanced past the second round in Paris. But after struggling in a first-round match against Casey Dellacqua, Errani was a revelation for the rest of the fortnight. She beat three former Grand Slam winners and battled back in to win a decisive third set against reigning US Open champion Sam Stosur in the semifinals.
Sharapova was playing in her third Grand Slam final in the past 11 months. She was favored to win the previous two also, but struggled on her serve and couldn`t deal with the power of Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. Against the light-hitting Errani, it was a mismatch.
The Russian joins Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Margaret Court and Serena Williams as winners of the career Slam in the Open era. She`ll return to the No. 1 ranking on Monday for the first time since 2008.
BDST: 2118 HRS, June 9, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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