Williams wins Roland Garros
Originally published on: 08/06/13 00:00
The victory was Williams’ 16th on the Grand Slam stage and second in Paris, marking an incredible turnaround from the same event last year when she lost in the opening round. That unlikely defeat to Virginie Razzano was the spark that lit an inferno of determination in Williams and since then the American has posted a remarkable record of 74 wins to just three losses, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open and now at Roland Garros.
The matchup between two of tennis’ biggest global stars marked the first French Open final since 1995 to feature the top two ranked players in the world and it was the No.2 seed Sharapova who started the better of the two.
The Russian, who hadn’t beaten Williams since 2004, was looking to become just the sixth woman to defend a title in the French capital and her determination was evident from the start as she fist-pumped and muscled her way into an early 2-0 lead.
Williams responded immediately, surging ahead 4-2 and although the defending champion managed to level things once more at 4-4 it was the world No.1 who clinched the first set 6-4.
Williams, who came into the contest on a 30-match winning streak, failed to capitalise on five break points in the opening game of the second set but when the opportunity to break the Sharapova serve arose once more in the third game she seized it to lead 2-1.
The pair traded breaks from there on out and when Williams was forced to serve for the title she produced the most clinical game of the match, firing down three aces and a forehand winner to take the set and with it a second French Open crown.
Williams’ victory in Paris came 11 years after her first, the longest distance between Grand Slam wins in the Open Era and she now sits just two major titles behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who have each won 18.