Queen Maria resumes rule with French win | sports | Hindustan Times
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Queen Maria resumes rule with French win

Maria Sharapova kept her poise to outwit and outpower diminutive Italian Sara Errani and win her first French Open crown with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Saturday. Russian assault

sports Updated: Jun 10, 2012 01:32 IST
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova kept her poise to outwit and outpower diminutive Italian Sara Errani and win her first French Open crown with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, Italian Errani troubled Sharapova with some cute volleys, sliced forehands, daring dropshots but found the Russian to be an insurmountable obstacle.

With Errani standing at just 1.64 metres, the statuesque Russian used her 24 cms advantage and wider wingspan to great effect as she chased down everything the Italian could throw at her.

She wrapped up victory when Errani ended a prolonged rally by dumping a backhand into the net, allowing Sharapova to become the 10th woman to complete a career grand slam after she added the Paris title to her triumphs at Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006) and Australian Open (2008).

The victory capped a remarkable comeback for Sharapova after many thought her career was all but over when she underwent shoulder surgery in 2008.

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Long wait ends
Having waited four years to climb back into the grand slam winner's circle, it was little wonder the 25-year-old dropped to her knees and covered her face in disbelief in her moment of triumph. But this was no time for the queen of women's tennis, who will also climb back to the top of the rankings on Monday, to hide her face.

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A beaming Sharapova, still on her knees, tilted her head skywards and lapped up the applause from the hollering fans with outstretched arms.

Errani, who had been left sobbing after her remarkable fortnight ended one victory short, pumped her arms as if to say "Yes, Yes, Yes, I am actually the champion".

During the 89-minute contest though, there was only one winner. "I'm really speechless. It's been such a journey for me to get to this stage," Sharapova said during her victory speech during which she showed off her multi-lingual skills by speaking in English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Errani, bidding to become the lowest seed at 21 to win the title in the professional era, was in danger of suffering a whitewash when Sharapova sprinted to a 4-0 lead within 15 minutes.

But just when the fans thought they were about to witness the first whitewash since Steffi Graf beat Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in the 1988 final, Errani started to produce the kind of shots that helped her to knock out three grand slam champions here.

The second set started like the first, with Sharapova breaking before romping to a 4-1 lead.

But the Italian was determined not to go out without a fight and remained undaunted even when Sharapova brought up her first match point by hitting a brilliant forehand on the run.

She forced Sharapova into a forehand error to get back to deuce, then earned a break point by snaring Sharapova with a dropshot.

Sharapova hit back with a thunderbolt backhand winner and after seeing another matchpoint evaporate with yet another Errani dropshot, she brought up a third with an ace.

This time she made no mistake.