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Sharapova reaches French Open final, becomes world number one

posted 7 Jun 2012, 14:24 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 7 Jun 2012, 14:25 ]

Russian Maria Sharapova become the world number one after she beats Petra Kvitova in straight sets in the women's French Open semi finals - she'll face Italy's Sara Errani for the title.

PARIS, FRANCE (JUNE 7, 2012) (FFT) - 
Maria Sharapova enjoyed a double celebration on Thursday (June 7) as she reclaimed the world number one tennis ranking after blowing away Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3 to reach her maiden French Open final.
The Russian now stands one match away from fulfilling her dream of completing a career grand slam and will be favourite to become the newest member of the Roland Garros champions' club when she takes on Italian outsider Sara Errani on Saturday (June 9).

The swirling winds on Philippe Chatrier Court made life difficult for both players initially, with Sharapova facing break points on both of her opening service games but it was

Kvitova who blinked first.

The Czech left-hander's forehand started to misfire badly and she surrendered the first set after dropping her serve in the fifth game.

Kvitova fought back from 1-3 down in the second set to level at 3-3 but Sharapova kept on pounding winners from the baseline to break for 5-3 before wrapping up the one-sided contest in 77 minutes with an ace.

Earlier underdog Sara Errani upset the heavy-hitting sixth seed Sam Stosur 7-5 1-6 6-3 to reach her first grand slam final.

The nimble-footed Italian, who stands only 1.64 metres tall, had been expected to struggle with Stosur's high, kicking serve and heavy topspin groundstrokes, but after losing the opening two games she quickly got on top.

She stepped inside the baseline to take the Stosur serve early and edged the first set with some deep, penetrating groundstrokes.

The Australian struck back, however, with a dominant display of power hitting in the second set which she wrapped up in only 36 minutes.

The 28-year-old Stosur might have hoped her experience would help her kick-on in the decider, but it was the favourite who tightened up and froze on the big stage.

The 21st seed claycourt specialist, who had already knocked out former champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, exchanged breaks with Stosur at the start of the decider before capitalising on a string of unforced errors to wrap up the match.