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Making History | June | 2012 Articles

Making History

Written by Andrew Moffa on .

Seeing the emotions pour from Maria Sharapova's face after dismantling Italian Sara Errani in the Russian's first-ever French Open Final told the story.  This was not any other Grand Slam Title.  This was the one that has been eluding her ever since she became a professional.  This was the one the 25 year-old had set her sights on upon returning from shoulder surgery.  This was the one she had in mind when she re-learned the basics of playing on clay.  This was the one Maria Sharapova needed to became the 10th woman in the history of the sport to record the Career Grand Slam.  While Sharapova was not willing to talk about how badly she wanted this Title before playing on Saturday, she was not afraid to show the importance of it after Errani hit a backhand slice into the net, handing Maria her fourth Grand Slam Title.

Right from the onset, this Women's Final appeared to be a mismatch.  At 5-4, Errani is one of the shortest women on tour, while Sharapova towers over many on the WTA Tour at 6-2.  Even during the 10-minute warm-up, these two women did not seem to belong on the same court together.  As much as a mismatch this seemed to be, do not think that Sharapova was taking the Italian lightly.  Having already beaten two top-10 players, Errani, the closest thing we have in the women's game of a clay-court specialist, was not going to make it easy for the heavily-favored Russian.  Through the first four games of the match, Sharapova was in complete control.  She was serving well, returning well, and dictating each and every point from the onset.  Errani looked unsure of what to do.  Despite earning one of the two breaks of serve back and looking a little more comfortable, Errani ceded the first set to Sharapova by the score of 6-3. 

An early break of serve in the second set put Sharapova in full control of the match, and she was determined not to play in the first three-set French Open Women's Final since 2001.  Errani had break chances in the second set, but timely first serves and winners kept Sharapova out in front.  A barrage of winners from the Russian in the last few games of the second set was able to quell any beginnings of a comeback from the Italian, and on her third match point, Maria overcame some great defensive play from Errani to force the backhand slice error.  After initially dropping to her knees with tears flooding her face, Sharapova shook hands with her opponent and jumped for joy on Court Philippe Chatrier.  A visit to her box followed.  More so than most players, Maria Sharapova really had to rely on the people closest to her when recovering from shoulder surgery and really struggling over the past few years. This could be seen in the reaction of Sharapova's coach, Thomas Hogstedt. 

As for the woman on the losing end of this French Open Final, Sara Errani has to be very pleased with the run she had at Roland Garros the past two weeks.  It just seemed as if the 25 year-old Italian ran out of gas when it counted against Sharapova.  On the brightside, Errani has jumped to No. 10 in the World Rankings and was able to win the French Open Women's Doubles Title with countrywomen Roberta Vinci.  Much was accomplished with Sharapova's 6-3 6-2 win on Saturday afternoon in Paris.  First of all, she solidified her World No. 1 Ranking, which she earned after her semifinal win on Thursday.  As mentioned earlier, she became only the 10th woman to win all four Grand Slams.  Oddly enough, these are the only four Major Championships she has to her name.  Sharapova's win on Saturday also marked the end of a long road back after serious shoulder surgery, which kept her out of the sport for nearly 10 months.  Looking ahead, there is no reason to believe that Sharapova cannot be a major factor for the rest of the year.  Assuming she remains healthy and full of confidence, do not be surprised if Maria is photographed holding up another Championship trophy of a Major in 2012.  For Maria Sharapova, good things tend to happen in bunches.