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Sharapova wins French Open to complete career Grand Slam

Paris, France (Sports Network) - Russian superstar Maria Sharapova became the 10th woman in history to capture a career Grand Slam with a straight-set victory over diminutive Italian Sara Errani in Saturday's French Open title match.

The second-seeded Sharapova cruised past Errani, the No. 21 seed, 6-3, 6-2 in 89 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier to become the sixth woman in the Open Era to complete the career Slam.

"I'm really speechless. It's been such a journey for me to get to this stage," Sharapova said during her speech after the match. "There are so many people to thank, but most importantly, it's my wonderful team that keeps me together."

Sharapova improved to 4-3 in her career Grand Slam finals, with the other victories coming at Wimbledon in 2004, the 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Aussie Open.

The tall Russian appeared in her third Grand Slam final at the last four majors. She lost to Petra Kvitova in last year's Wimbledon finale and succumbed to current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in January's Aussie championship match. Sharapova defeated Kvitova in the semifinals here in Paris on Thursday.

"It took me many years to get to this stage," Sharapova said. "Eight years ago, it was my first breakthrough Grand Slam. I went to the quarterfinals, and eight years from that day, I'm here on this stage. I'm so happy to share this moment."

Sharapova, who will become the new WTA world No. 1 on Monday, improved to a surprising 18-1 on clay this year, including a 16-0 mark on red clay.

Despite the loss, Errani had a great two weeks in Paris. The Italian entered Roland Garros with an 0-28 mark against top-10 women, but she topped 2010 French Open runner-up Sam Stosur on Thursday, and surprised world No. 10 German Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.

Errani also beat a pair of former French Open champs in Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009) in the third and fourth round here, respectively.

In addition, Errani captured the 2012 French Open women's doubles title alongside fellow Italian Roberta Vinci on Friday. She became the first player since Kim Clijsters in 2003 to reach both the singles and doubles finals here.

Errani's first-ever Grand Slam final appearance will move her from No. 24 in the world to No. 10. She will be the third Italian ever to break into the top-10 (after Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone).

"I played a good two weeks," Errani said. "Was incredible for me. But I just want to keep doing the same thing that I was doing. So normal things. Just practice, and I try to improve every day like I always do."

Sharapova, appearing in her first French Open final, came out determined to win the title that has eluded her. The 6-foot-2 stalwart raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Errani showed some fight with a break of Sharapova's serve, but the two players held serve for the remainder of the set.

The Russian went ahead 4-1 in the second set and cruised to victory.

"I played better the second set, but still was difficult for me, like I said," Errani said. "She won many points with the serve, with the receive in the first two or three shots, so for me was difficult. I couldn't arrive to play long points like I want to play, so was difficult for me."

Sharapova fired six aces and recorded 37 winners to capture her third title of the year. She improved to 27-16 in career finals.

The 5-foot-4 Errani was trying to win her fourth clay-court title this season. She fell to 5-4 in career title matches.

The fellow 25-year-olds met for the first time in their careers. This was the first Grand Slam women's final in which the finalists have not met head-to- head since the 2009 U.S. Open.

Sharapova took home $1.5 million with the victory.

06/09 15:12:57 ET


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