Paris, France (Sports Network) - Russian superstar Maria Sharapova will
face diminutive Italian Sara Errani in Saturday's ladies' final at the 2012
The second-seeded Sharapova served brilliantly in cruising past fourth-seeded
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday,
while the 21st-seeded Errani toppled sixth-seeded U.S. Open champion and
former French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur in 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 fashion on Court
Chatrier, where rain delayed the start of that semifinal match for over an
The three-time major champion Sharapova will be become the new No. 1 player in
the world on Monday and is one victory away from completing a coveted career
Grand Slam. She will appear in her first career French Open final in two days.
Sharapova, who last sat atop the rankings in June 2008, would become the 10th
woman in history to capture a career Grand Slam with a victory on Saturday.
The powerful Sharapova dismissed Kvitova on her first match point Thursday
by swatting a match-ending ace after 1 hour, 17 minutes of action. The
determined Russian broke Kvitova four times while surrendering only one break
on Day 12.
Sharapova appeared in her second straight and third overall semi at
Roland Garros (1-2), while Kvitova played in her first-ever French Open and
fourth career Grand Slam semifinal (1-3).
Sharapova and Kvitova met for a sixth time, with the Russian now leading their
lifetime series, 4-2. And Sharapova is now 3-0 against the Czech slugger this
season, including semifinal victories at the Aussie Open and in Stuttgart.
The two women met for the third time in the last four Slams.
The tall Russian will now appear in her third Grand Slam final at the last
four majors. She lost to Kvitova in last year's Wimbledon finale and succumbed
to current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in January's Aussie championship match.
Sharapova is 26-16 in her career finals, including a 2-3 record this year.
She titled on clay in Stuttgart and Rome and was a runner-up at the Aussie,
Indian Wells and Miami.
The 6-foot-2 stalwart is 3-3 in her career Grand Slam finals, with the
victories coming at Wimbledon in 2004, the 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Aussie
In Thursday's opening semi, Errani converted on her first match point with an
easy forehand winner after just over two hours of uneventful tennis.
Errani won even though Stosur struck 24 more winners (46-22), including 11
aces. The Italian grinder failed to pop even one ace, but watched while her
Aussie counterpart piled up 27 more unforced errors (48-21) en route to the
The Bologna native Errani won for the second straight time against a top-10
opponent after starting her career 0-28 in such encounters. She upended world
No. 10 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.
Errani improved to 24-3 on clay this year, will now appear in her first-ever
Grand Slam final, and gives Italy a finalist at Roland Garros for a third
straight year. Francesca Schiavone upset Stosur in the 2010 final and
Schiavone lost to China's Li Na in last year's title match at the world's
lone clay-court major.
The 28-year-old Stosur had been a perfect 5-0 against Errani, including a
straight-set victory in Rome just last month. The Aussie slugger fell to 2-2
in her career major semis, while Errani is now 1-0.
Errani, who already owns three clay-court titles this season, beat a pair of
former French Open champs in Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova
(2009) in the third and fourth round here, respectively.
The 5-foot-4 Errani had never made it past the third round at any of her first
17 Grand Slam events before reaching the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open back
Errani, who will also play in the women's doubles final in Paris, alongside
fellow Italian Roberta Vinci on Friday, will appear in her ninth career WTA
singles final (5-3) and fourth title match of 2012 (3-0). She authored wins in
Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest this year -- all on clay.
Sharapova and her fellow 25-year-old Errani will meet for the first time on
This year's first-time French Open champ will pocket $1.5 million.
The Sports Network