Skip to main content

New No. 1 Sharapova on verge of career grand slam at French Open

updated 3:18 PM EDT, Thu June 7, 2012
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova blows a kiss to the crowd after beating Petra Kvitova at Roland Garros on Thursday to reach her first French Open final. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova blows a kiss to the crowd after beating Petra Kvitova at Roland Garros on Thursday to reach her first French Open final.
HIDE CAPTION
Sharapova's semi win
Career grand slam chance
Errani's dream run
Stosur slumps again
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Maria Sharapova beats Petra Kvitova to reach French Open final for first time
  • Russian will rise to world No. 1 in the new rankings issued next week
  • She will be trying to complete a collection of all four grand slam titles
  • Sara Errani beats Sam Stosur to give Italy third successive final appearance

(CNN) -- Maria Sharapova stands on the brink of tennis history after romping into her first French Open final on Thursday.

The second seed's straight-sets win over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova not only ensured she will reclaim the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in four years, but also gave her the chance to become just the 10th female player to complete a career grand slam.

Standing in the Russian's way of emulating the likes of greats such as Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Serena Williams is the 2012 tournament's surprise package, Sara Errani.

Ranked 23rd in the world, Errani continued her dream run by beating 2010 Roland Garros runner-up and reigning U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in Thursday's opening semifinal.

It means Italy will be represented for the third year in a row, after Francesca Schiavone lifted her first and only grand slam title on the Paris clay in 2010 and then lost to Li Na 12 months ago.

Hantuchova expects Sharapova victory
Sharapova ready for tough clay challenge
Li Na was disappointed after suffering a surprise defeat in the fourth round of the French Open against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Li Na was disappointed after suffering a surprise defeat in the fourth round of the French Open against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Defending champion departs
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Li Na exits French Open Li Na exits French Open
Maria Sharapova has come a long way since turning professional on her 14th birthday in April 2001, having played the game since she was four years old. Maria Sharapova has come a long way since turning professional on her 14th birthday in April 2001, having played the game since she was four years old.
The Sharapova story
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Maria Sharapova\'s French Open dream Maria Sharapova's French Open dream

Sharapova reached Saturday's title match with a ruthless 6-3 6-3 win over Czech fourth seed Kvitova, going some way to erasing memories of her defeat in last year's Wimbledon final.

The 25-year-old last won a grand slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, before serious shoulder injuries forced her into a long rehab. She made the Paris semis for the second time last year, and has already reached one major final this year.

Defeat to Victoria Azarenka in Melbourne in January cost her the No. 1 ranking, but on Monday she will rise above the Belorussian no matter what happens in her first career clash with Errani.

"It's an amazing feeling to be in my first final. I have been in two semifinals but it was always my dream of getting to the final stage," said Sharapova, who won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004 and then the U.S. Open in 2006.

"That's pretty special. After my shoulder surgery, my ranking was out of the top 100, but I thought if I could be number one in the world before that then I could do it again."

Errani had lost all five previous meetings with Stosur, but she continued the form that saw her beat world No. 10 Angelique Kerber and former French Open champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic in earlier rounds.

"I didn't think I could do this coming into the tournament. Never. This is just incredible for me," said Errani, who will become only the third woman from Italy to ever rank in the top 10 after Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta.

"The first round here was difficult, this match was difficult, all the matches have been difficult, and I'm very happy how I've played.

"The most important thing for me is I'm just thinking about playing -- I'm just playing my game without thinking of what I'm doing. But I'm not finished."

Sixth seed Stosur had been seeking to become the first Australian woman since Margaret Court in 1973 to win the tournament.

Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza won their second grand slam mixed doubles title together after beating Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez and Poland's Klaudia Jans-Ignacik 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the final.

The Indian duo also won the Australian Open in 2009, while the 38-year-old Bhupathi is one of the most successful doubles players ever with 12 titles overall.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
updated 2:36 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
ADVERTISEMENT