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  • French Open, Day 12

Sharapova sees off Kvitova to seal return to No. 1

ESPN staff
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Maria Sharapova remains on course for a career grand slam © PA Photos
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Maria Sharapova secured a return to No. 1 for the first time in four years after powering past Petra Kvitova to reach the French Open final.

The Russian is one match away from completing a career Grand Slam after claiming a 6-3 6-3 victory in Paris.

In a rematch of last year's Wimbledon final, Sharapova played the percentages and dealt impressively with the breezy conditions to reach the final at Roland Garros for the first time.

The second seed will face Italian Sara Errani in Saturday's final and will have the chance to add the French Open to the major titles she won at Wimbledon in 2004, the 2006 US Open and the 2008 Australian Open.

But regardless of the result on Saturday, Sharapova will replace Victoria Azarenka as new world No. 1 on Monday.

Sharapova has come under scrutiny for her serve, and faced break points on both of her opening service games, but the Russian held firm and it was Kvitova who faltered first.

The Czech struggled with the swirling winds on Court Philippe Chatrier and her attempts to find the lines were in vain, and she surrendered the first set after dropping her serve for a second time.

Although she fought back from a break down to level at 3-3, Sharapova's relentless power from the baseline proved too great as she broke for a 5-3 lead before wrapping up victory in 77 minutes with an ace.

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