• French Open, Day 14

Serena seals second French Open triumph

ESPN staff
June 8, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Highlights: S. Williams bt Sharapova (6-4 6-4)

Serena Williams lifted the French Open for a second time after the American extended her tremendous record over Maria Sharapova with a 6-4 6-4 victory in the final.

The world No. 1 last tasted success at Roland Garros in 2002, and in winning the French Open collected a 16th grand slam from 20 major finals. The success also continues her remarkable winning run, which now stands at 31 consecutive victories, while Sharapova relinquishes the title she claimed 12 months ago.

It has been nine years since Sharapova last beat Williams, and the latter made it 13 wins on the spin against the world No. 2 - despite Sharapova making a positive start to the encounter.

Sharapova was under pressure right from the first game, as she saved break points from 0-40 and advantage to hold serve after five minutes. But the Russian was up for the fight and converted her break point in the second as a forehand from Williams went wide.

Serena Williams' roll of honour

  • Australian Open - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010

    French Open - 2002, 2013

    Wimbledon - 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012

    US Open - 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012

Svetlana Kuznetsova had been the only player to push Williams so far in the event in the quarter-finals, and Sharapova was taking a leaf out of her fellow Russian's book by hitting the ball deep and forcing the Wimbledon and US Open champion on the back foot.

However, Williams began to find her range, and from 40-15 behind reclaimed the break with a ferocious forehand and an overhead smash to halve the deficit.

Very quickly Williams was back on level terms and soon made it three games in a row when a shot from Sharapova went beyond the baseline.

Hardly anything was going past Williams as six dropped points in the last 20 enabled the American to break the Sharapova serve once again and go 4-2 in front.

Sharapova gained confidence when she stopped the rot in the seventh game and screamed with delight when she got herself back into the set at 4-4, but Williams raised her level once again to break her opponent for a third time thanks to a fine forehand, and clinched the opening set one game later.

Maria Sharapova gave it her all as she aimed to defend her crown © AP
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A combination of great defensive work from Williams and the determination of Sharapova ensured the first game of the second set raised the level of the match yet further. The Russian was under huge pressure but staved off five break points.

Sharapova was unable to prevent Williams from punishing her serve in the third game though, and the break was consolidated despite the best efforts of Sharapova.

Sharapova battled to stick with Williams, but the world No. 1 was too strong on her serve and fired a 121mph ace down the tee to restore the two-game advantage.

The champion continued to fight by closing the gap to one, but could not get near the Williams serve as she went one away from the win at 5-3.

Sharapova forced Williams to serve for the title in the 10th game. But if there were nerves, she did not show them as Williams sealed her second Roland Garros title with an ace down the middle.

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