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Serena to face Sharapova in Paris final

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Originally published on: 07/06/13 00:00

The world No.1 extended her winning streak to 30 matches after cruising past last year’s finalist Sara Errani 6-0 6-1 in just 46 minutes.

Errani had claimed her first win against a top-five player with victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals, but the Italian had no answer to Williams’ power as the top seed unleashed 40 winners and conceded just 16 points in a dominant performance.

The American sealed victory with an ace to book her place in the final for only the second time in Paris, where she will play defending champion Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s final. It will be the first French Open final since 1995 – when Steffi Graf defeated world No.1 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario – that the world's top two women go head-to-head in Paris.

"I"m just really focused right now," Williams said. "I want to do the best I can. I want to give myself every opportunity to do that. That's all I want. But even if that means I lose, at least I know I have done the best I can, and it's okay. But as long as I give that effort, it feels better.

"It can happen to anyone on any day. That's why every day I'm trying to do the best I can. And when I'm not, I try to fight through it, because my forehand, backhand, serve – anything could happen."

Standing between Williams and her 16th Grand Slam title is world No.2 Sharapova, who edged past Victoria Azarenka 6-1 2-6 6-4 in the day’s first semi-final.

After being broken to love in the opening game, Sharapova won six games on the bounce to storm through the opening set, only for Azarenka to battle back and force a decider.

After a brief rain delay, Sharapova raced to a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to squander four match points as she served for the match. Azarenka closed the gap to 5-4, but the Russian held her nerve to clinch victory with an ace.

"I had to stay aggressive,” Sharapova said. “I've never really thought about going out on the court and just trying to be consistent – the way I win matches is by being aggressive, by moving my power, by looking to move forward and play that aggressive game.

“I don't know if it's something that's gotten better over the years, but obviously the more consistent you get at doing what you do best, the better you are out there. Despite having the match points and not taking advantage of them, I was happy how I served it out."

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