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Sharapova overpowers Errani to win French Open

updated 3:43 PM EDT, Sat June 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Maria Sharapova beats Sara Errani to win French Open final
  • Russian completes collection of all four grand slam titles
  • Saturday's victory is Sharapova's first grand slam win since 2008
  • The 25-year-old will be world No. 1 in the new rankings issued next week

(CNN) -- Maria Sharapova overpowered Sara Errani to win the French Open final at Roland Garros for the first time and complete a career grand slam.

The 2012 tournament's surprise package, Italian Errani never came up with an answer to Sharapova's strategy of power and unerring ball placement as the Russian produced 37 winner to secure a 6-3 6-3 victory.

As Sharapova motored into a 4-0 lead in the opening set the final looked as it might be over in the blink of an eye, but Errani got her toe in the match by breaking Sharapova's serve to win the fifth game.

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Defending champion departs
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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
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Errani, who is ranked 23rd in the world, showed plenty of grit to save two set points in the eighth game, but when a third set point came up in the following game Sharapova ruthlessly converted.

Italy's Errani refused to capitulate in the second set, but was never able to threaten the Russian's dominance.

As well as strength, Sharapova's quickness of feet was a feature of an impressive performance, notably when she sprinted to reach an Errani drop shot, winning the point to take a 4-1 lead.

Errani saved two match points in a game that the Italian produced a couple of the deftest drop shots you could wish for, but the Italian's resistance was finally ended when the Russian converted her third championship point.

It was the 25-year-old Russian's first grand slam title since she won the Australian Open in 2008.

Since then Sharapova's career has been hampered by serious shoulder injuries that forced her into a long rehab, but her winning form at Roland Garros will also see the Russian move above Belorussian Victoria Azarenka to take the No. 1 ranking slot on Monday.

Saturday's victory ensured Sharapova became just the 10th female player to complete a career grand slam to emulate the the likes of greats such as Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Serena Williams.

The Russian won her first grand slam title at Wimbledon eight years ago, before going on to win the US Open in 2006 and then then Australian Open four years ago.

"It's the most incredible feeling," said Sharapova after her win in Paris. "I'm so happy. I've worked so hard for this -- it took a lot to get to this stage and even more to win it. There are so many tough days where you feel like giving up, but you don't. It's been such a journey to get to this stage again."

If Errani's impressive performances at Roland Garros -- featuring wins over two former champions and two members of the top 10 -- might not have had a fairytale ending, those rankings will provide some consolation for the Italian as she enters the top 10 for the first time.

"I don't feel like top 10, but I will be top 10, and it's incredible for me," said Errani, who made only only hit 11 unforced errors during the final. "I really can't believe it. I'm so happy for everything right now."

Victor Sharapova made a point of praising Errani's achievement in reaching the final.

"What an amazing tournament," said the Russian. "I've watched you play the last two weeks and the way you've performed. And the way you played today was extremely difficult for me. I know it was our first meeting, and I hope we play many more times."

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