2013 Women’s French Open Tennis Championship
#1 Serena Williams (-550) vs #2 Maria Sharapova (+425)
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 9:00 am Eastern, TV: NBC
Roland Garros – Paris France
Playing Surface: Red Clay
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
The two biggest names in women’s tennis, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova meet in a grand slam final for the first time since the 2007 Australian Open. The two did play each other for the gold medal at last year’s London Olympics played at Wimbledon. Although, tennis fans would like to call this a rivalry, sadly it really isn’t. Serena leads Sharapova 13-2 all-time and has won 11 straight matches in the series, including 3-0 this year. Sharapova hasn’t beaten Williams since 2004. Williams beat her in the semis at Doha earlier this year, and in the finals at Miami and Madrid.
Both Williams and Sharapova have the career grand slam, and each has one French Open title. Willaims won hers in 2002 and has 14 other major titles. Sharapova won hers last year and has one title each from the four grand slams.
The 26 year old Sharapova, from Russia is 36-4 this season with titles at Stuttgart and Indian Wells. She lost to Serena Williams in the finals at Miami and Madrid.
Sharapova beat Su-Wei Hsieh in the first round, Eugenie Bouchard in the second, Jie Zheng in the third, #17 Sloane Stephens in the fourth, and #18 Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. Jankovic is the only one to take a set off of Sharapova so far, and Sharapova didn’t allow more than 5 games to any other opponent.
Sharapova beat #3 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. Sharapova has 12 aces and 11 double faults. Azarenka had 3 aces and no double faults. Sharapova was 72% on first serves and 29% on second. Azarenka was 54% and 40% respectively. Sharapova won 2 of 6 net points, and Azarenka won 8 of 10. Sharapova was 6/10 on break points, and Azarenka was 5/10. Sharapova has 42 winners and 39 unforced errors. Azarenka had 15 and 22.
The 31 year old Williams is playing some of the best tennis of her brilliant career. She is 42-2 this season with wins at Brisbane, Charleston, Miami, Madrid and Rome (the latter two on clay). She became the oldest player ever to reach #1 in the world in February. She was also the runner up at Doha. Williams has won 29 straight matches.
Williams beat Anna Tatishvilli in the first round, Caroline Garcia in the second, #26 Sorana Cirstea in the third, #15 Vinci in the fourth round, and 2009 champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarters, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. In the third set against Kuznetsova, Williams trailed 2-0 before winning 5 straight games to take control of the match. No one else won more than 3 games in any set against Serena.
In the semifinals, Serena crushed #5 Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in just 46 minutes. Think about that for a minute, she didn’t just destroy some qualifier in the first round, but the world’s fifth best player on Serena’s weakest surface and Errani’s best. It got so bad for Errani that the crowd actually gave her a standing ovation when she finally won a game down 3-0 in the second.
Serena had 5 aces and neither had a double fault. Williams was a blistering 82% on first serves and 88% on second serves. Errani was 36% and 14 %. Errani’s fastest serve was 91 miles an hour, and she even had one clocked at 49 miles per hour. That would be like serving up a 70 MPH fastball to Miguel Cabrera. Serena pulverized Errani’s serve. Williams was 5 for 7 on break points and 8 for 10 on net points. Errani had no break points but did convert both her net approaches. Williams had 40 winners and 12 unforced errors while Errani had 2 and 3. Serena won 69% of her receiving points. Errani would only score 16 points for the whole match.
While I don’t think Sharapova will get steamrolled like Errani did, but Serena is in her head. There are probably relationships in prison that are less one sided than Williams and Sharapova has been. Sharapova might take a set, but Serena is focused on winning her second title at Roland Garros.
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