Tennis-Williams leads Sharapova in French Open final

PARIS, June 8 Sat Jun 8, 2013 3:11pm BST

Related Topics

PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) - Serena Williams took a stranglehold on the French Open final against defending champion Maria Sharapova on Saturday, recovering from a slow start to win the opening set 6-4.

The American, bidding to win the claycourt slam for the first time since 2002, should have broken second seed Sharapova in the opening game as she went 0-40 ahead but failed to capitalise and was then broken in the following game.

Sharapova has not got the better of Williams since 2004, losing 12 matches in a row, but she took heart from some early errors from her opponent and a second serve ace helped her to 40-15 and within a point of a 3-0 lead.

Williams hit back though with some thumping drives and broke serve with a solid overhead.

After holding for 2-2, Williams, bidding to become the oldest woman to win the title since tennis turned professional in 1968, engineered more break points as Sharapova again went 0-40 down and this time she did not let the Russian off the hook, nailing an unreturnable forehand winner.

Sharapova refused to be intimidated though and dragged herself level at 4-4 when Williams yanked a backhand wide.

There was no respite though for Sharapova and she was under the cosh immediately as Williams broke serve for third time, clenching her fist as a forehand howitzer flew past the outstretched racket of Sharapova.

Williams then held serve to claim the opening set after 51 minutes of play on Chatrier Court. (Reporting by Martyn Herman)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.