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Serena reigns supreme in Paris

Serena Williams won her second French Open title on Saturday, 11 years after her first triumph, defeating title-holder Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in a brief, but high-quality final. It underscored her near total domination of the women's game, having won three of the last four Grand Slam titles.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2013 21:35 IST
serena williams
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Serena Williams won her second French Open title on Saturday, 11 years after her first triumph, defeating title-holder Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in a brief, but high-quality final.

It was the 31-year-old American's 16th Grand Slam title win, taking her to within two of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova who are tied for fourth on the all-time list.

And it underscored her near total domination of the women's game, having won three of the last four Grand Slam titles -- at Wimbledon, the US and French Opens -- and reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

For Sharapova it was a 10th straight loss to her American nemesis dating back to 2004 when she defeated her in the Wimbledon final and the WTA Championships when she was just 17-years-old.

Serena Williams of the USA holds the trophy after defeating Russia's Maria Sharapova in the women's final of the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. (AP)


In what was the first French Open women's final involving the two top seeds since 1995, the two biggest names and biggest earners in women's sport were pitted against each other for the 16th time, the third in a Grand Slam final.

Williams was the strong favourite, having won 13 times for two defeats against the Russian and stormed into the final for the loss of just one set, taking her career-best winning streak to 31.

Recent French Open women's champions
2013
Serena Williams (USA)
2012
Maria Sharapova (RUS)
2011
Li Na (CHN)
2010
Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
2009
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
2008
Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
2007
Justine Henin (BEL)
2006
Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL)
2005
Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL)
2004
Anastasia Myskina (RUS)


Sharapova though was on a 13-match win run at Roland Garros, having finally come to terms with the demands of claycourt tennis last year when she defeated Sara Errani in the final.

Williams opened up with a sequence of brutal service returns that had Sharapova scampering from side to side and within minutes 0-40 down.

Factfile on Serena Williams
Name
Serena Williams (USA)
World ranking
1
Age
31
Birthdate
September 26, 1981
Birthplace
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Height
5'9" (175 cm)
Weight
155 lbs (70 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Tuned pro
1995
Coach
Richard Williams/Patrick Mouratoglou
Twitter
@serenawilliams
Career singles titles
52
Grand Slam singles titles
16 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, French Open 2002, 2013; Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012)
Career prize money
$46,532,087
WTA Championships
3 (2001, 2009, 2012)
Fed Cup
1 (1999)
Olympic Games
1 singles gold (2012), 3 women's doubles gold (2000, 2008, 2012)

But the tall Russian served her way out of trouble and then showed her aggressive intentions by breaking Williams in the next game.

Sharapova had two points for a 3-0 lead, but Williams started to find her range again to break back and was soon on level terms at 2-2.

Serena Williams celebrates as she wins the 2013 French tennis Open final against Russia's Maria Sharapova at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. (AFP)


She broke again to lead 3-2 and suddenly she looked in command of a match that had started so brightly for Sharapova.

The crowd tried to lift the title-holder, who was seeking her fifth Grand Slam title and second at Roland Garros, and she did manage to get back on level terms briefly at 4-4 with Williams bothered by the gusting wind.

French Open women's final statistics
Williams
Sharapova
Aces
10
2
Double-faults
0
4
First serve percentage
68
55
Net points point
0/12
3/4
Winners
17
6
Unforced errors
21
17
Breaks/Breaks points
4/15
2/2
Total points won
71
56

But the American produced her best tennis of the match in the next game with some big hits down both flanks and then held serve to take the first set in 51 minutes.

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The task on hand for Sharapova was huge, illustrated by the fact that in Grand Slam tennis, after taking a one set to love lead 208 times, the American had failed to complete the job just five times.

Serena Williams, of the US holds the winner's cup after defeating Russia's Maria Sharapova after the Women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. (AP)


Sharapova saved five break points to start the second set, but two games later she struggled again on serve and this time Williams converted her first break point to put herself in the clear at 4-2.

She then comfortably served out twice, with three aces to conclude with, to gleefully banish 11 years of frustrations at Roland Garros.

At 31 years, 247 days she is the oldest women in the Open Era to win the French Open title, taking over from Chris Evert who set the previous mark in 1986.