Russian superstar Maria Sharapova has joined the all-time greats of tennis with a straight-sets French Open final triumph above Sara Errani.
Sharapova’s six-three six-two cakewalk over the outclassed Italian gave the 25-year-old a coveted career grand slam and penned yet another memorable chapter in one of sport’s most inspiring comeback tales.
Languishing at a depressing 126th in the world on her return from career-threatening shoulder surgery in Could 2009, Sharapova feared her profession may have been more than.
Three many years on and the dogged baseliner will reclaim the best ranking on Monday from Victoria Azarenka after adding an elusive Roland Garros crown to her teenage breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2004 and 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open successes.
And all this right after the highest-paid and most-photographed women’s athlete on the planet once famously likened her movement on clay to “a cow on ice”.
Sharapova’s 89-minute victory locations her alongside Australia’s all-time grand slam leader Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Billie-Jean King, Serena Williams, Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart and Shirley Fry as only the 10th player to win all four majors.
“I am really speechless. It’s been such a journey for me to get to this stage,” Sharapova stated.
“No matter how many grand slams you win, to win here and to win this one particular, if it was my only a single it would be just as specific as it is winning my fourth.”
Sharapova paid tribute to her team, especially her mother and father.
“They are my rock that maintain me collectively, that keep me up every single day, that kept me going by way of the tough days and the very good.”
Red-faced officials committed a French faux pas in the course of the presentation ceremony when they introduced the newly-crowned champion as the runner-up.
As Errani laughed and raised her arms in triumph to the packed crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier, Sharapova looked stunned but then smiled.
“Girls and gentlemen, the runner-up Maria Sharapova,” the announcer stated.
To jeers and whistles from the crowd, a correction was swiftly issued.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the runner-up Sara Errani.”
The Italian then collected her trophy from former champion Monica Seles ahead of Sharapova was referred to as to the podium as champion to obtain the winner’s trophy.
The $ one.6 million winner’s cheque also sent the 2nd seed’s prize income earnings by means of the $ 20 million barrier.
Errani had swept past four seeds, like Australia’s highly-rated Samantha Stosur in the semi-finals and former champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic earlier in the tournament, to arrive at her maiden grand slam final.
Riding high from a tour-greatest 24 wins from 27 claycourt matches in 2012, Errani was bidding to grow to be only the third non-prime 10 player in historical past to raise the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in Paris.
But the 21st seed was just unable to match Sharapova’s back-court firepower.
Errani barely won a point in the opening 4 games as Sharapova charged to a 4- benefit in less than 15 minutes.
The Italian managed to claw one break back and saved two set factors in the eighth game, but Sharapova ultimately clinched the opening set with an inch-excellent backhand down the line.
The Russian immediately broke Errani in the initial game of the second set, consolidated for two-, tightened the screws with a fifth service break for 5-two and broke out in tears of joy after closing out the match in one hour on her 3rd championship point.
Errani, who won the doubles title with countrywoman Roberta Vinci on Friday, will break into the world’s best ten for the initial time following her fairytale run to the final.
She also took property a runner-up prize of $ A800,000 – plus $ A217,500 for the doubles.