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Serena overcomes Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 to win 2nd French Open title

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Defending champion Maria Sharapova threw everything she had at world no.1 Serena Williams, hoping that something would stick, but the top seed was just too good for her, as she record her first French Open title triumph after having gone 11 years of failing to get beyond the semi-finals, in two extremely close and tight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Sharapova’s dismal record against Serena Williams, in which she has failed to win a match against the American since 2004 made all tennis fans fear the same outcome , prior to the contest. Would the 2013 French Open final end in an anti-climax with Serena Williams bouncing her Russian opponent out like she had done in the past?

Those fears were assuaged by the world no.2 in the very first game of the match. Down 0-40 on her own serve, she played 5 confident points to hold serve. From there, she broke the world no.1’s serve and led 40-15 on her own. Sharapova was not reading the script and completely dominating her top seeded opponent, who was on a career best 30 match winning streak.

However, it turned out that Serena Williams was just getting warmed up. The break and 2 game points did not faze her in the slightest and she rattled off the next 4 games to lead 4-2 and put herself in the driving seat in the opening set of her 3rd final against the Russian. The 26 year old proved her fighting skills and continued to play aggressive tennis that saw her hit the ball with ferocious velocity and she eventually broke back to level the set at 4 games apiece.

The fight seemed to have taken something out of the 4 time Slam winner as the world no.1 won the last two games to close out the first set 6-4 after 51 minutes of exquisite baseline dueling.

The second set started much like the first. Sharapova saved numerous break points before she got a very important and confidence boosting hold. Two games later though she failed to do as Serena Williams broke her opponent’s serve for a fourth time to take control of the 2nd set.

After that game, neither player gave the other any advantage. The world no.1 held her nerve and calmly held serve game after game, a few of them to love. The world no.2 used all her faculties to not let her opponent get the double break and get a stranglehold on the match and tried her level best to break back.

She couldn’t, however, as she was playing against one of the greatest women’s servers of all time and in the 10th game of the 2nd set, on the back of three unplayable aces, Serena Williams held serve to 15 before falling to her knees on the red clay to celebrate her first victory on Philippe Chatrier court in Paris since she beat her sister Venus Williams in 2002 to complete the ‘Serena Slam’

The only way Sharapova could have defeated her nemesis was if she were to curtail her unforced errors and double faults. Unfortunately she was not able to do that as she sent down 4 double faults and made 17 unforced errors. While the world no.1 made 21 unforced errors, she more than made up for it by hitting 29 winners and firing down 10 aces over the course of the match which proved to be the crucial difference as she won 71 points to the Russian’s 56.

With her 16th Major title in her pocket, Serena Williams is now only two away from Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert who are tied at 18. She extends her career best winning streak to 31 and improves to 74-3 since her loss in the first round of the French Open in 2012. In the 2002 edition, the legendary American completed her first non calendar year Grand Slam. The way she is playing now the 2013 edition could very well be the start of her 2nd ‘Serena Slam’. Things will become clear in two weeks time when the world no.1 begins her title defense at the 2013 Wimbledon championships.