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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: French Open (Day XII)

PHOTOS: French Open (Day XII)

Last updated on: June 8, 2012 01:15 IST

Sharapova sweeps into French final, reclaims top spot

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Maria Sharapova enjoyed a double celebration on Thursday as she reclaimed the world number one tennis ranking after blowing away Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 to reach her maiden French Open final.

The Russian now stands one match away from fulfilling her dream of completing a career grand slam and will be favourite to become the newest member of the Roland Garros champions' club when she takes on Italian outsider Sara Errani on Saturday.

The swirling winds on Philippe Chatrier Court made life difficult for both players initially, with Sharapova facing break points on both of her opening service games but it was Kvitova who blinked first.

"A few years ago I don't know if I even had a ranking after having my shoulder surgery (in August 2008) and it's special to be back on top again," a beaming Sharapova told the crowd.



Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after winning her women's semi-final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the French Open
Photographs: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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Kvitova fought back from 1-3 down in the second set

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The Czech left-hander's forehand started to misfire badly and she surrendered the first set after dropping her serve in the fifth game.

Kvitova fought back from 1-3 down in the second set to level at 3-3 but Sharapova kept on pounding winners from the baseline to break for 5-3 before wrapping up the one-sided contest in 77 minutes with an ace.

The 22-year-old was bidding to become the first Czech woman to reach the final since Hana Mandlikova won the title for Czechoslovakia in 1981.

But she stood no chance against a woman who has never been afraid to show her iron will in the face of adversity.



Image: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic reacts during her women's semi-final match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the French Open
Photographs: REUTERS/Nir Elias

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Errani beats Stosur to reach first grand slam final

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Underdog Sara Errani upset the heavy-hitting sixth seed Sam Stosur 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 at the French Open on Thursday to reach her first grand slam final.

The nimble-footed Italian, who stands only 1.64 metres tall, had been expected to struggle with Stosur's high, kicking serve and heavy topspin groundstrokes, but after losing the opening two games she quickly got on top.

The 21st seed claycourt specialist, who had already knocked out former champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, exchanged breaks with Stosur at the start of the decider before capitalising on a string of unforced errors to wrap up the match.

"I have no words, it is incredible," a teary-eyed Errani, who collapsed on to her back in her moment of victory, told an on court interviewer.

Errani will play the winner of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova's semi-final against second seed Maria Sharapova on Saturday.


Image: Sara Errani of Italy reacts after winning her women's semi-final match against Samantha Stosur of Australia at the French Open
Photographs: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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Stosur froze on the big stage

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Errani stepped inside the baseline to take the Stosur serve early and edged the first set with some deep, penetrating groundstrokes.

The Australian struck back, however, with a dominant display of power hitting in the second set which she wrapped up in only 36 minutes.

The 28-year-old Stosur might have hoped her experience would help her kick-on in the decider, but it was the favourite who tightened up and froze on the big stage.



Image: Samantha Stosur of Australia reacts during her women's semi-final match against Sara Errani of Italy at the French Open
Photographs: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Tags: Errani

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