PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) - Predictably it was unlucky 13 for Maria Sharapova as she lost her French Open crown to Serena Williams on Saturday, yet the Russian remained defiant as she drew positives from yet another defeat against the world number one.
Sharapova has now lost 13 matches in a row to Williams but after the humiliation of a 6-0 6-1 defeat in the Olympics final last year a 6-4 6-4 was a step in the right direction for Sharapova whose positive mantra never wavers.
This time she did hold her turf against Williams but eventually was overpowered by the American who took her grand slam singles haul to 16.
“I will take a few little positives from this match,” the four-times grand slam champion told a news conference.
“I think getting to the Roland Garros final is not too shabby, so I’d say that’s a positive.
“Coming back as a defending champion, I know it’s never easy to come back with that title, so I’m happy that I was able to produce good tennis these last two weeks and get to that stage.”
Sharapova once famously described herself as a ‘cow on ice’ on clay, but the Russian has dramatically improved on the slow surface, winning 13 matches in a row at Roland Garros before running into an unforgiving Williams.
The 26-year-old, who won the first set against Williams at Miami this year, led 2-0, 40-15 in the opening set here but it was a fleeting moment of superiority as Williams quickly found her range.
“I can sit here and say that I feel like I’m moving in the right direction in terms of when I’m playing against her,” she said. “Some of the results against her last year were not so good. But the match in Miami and the match here, I think I’m doing a few more right things than maybe I have done in the past, yet obviously not consistent enough.”
Asked if she had regrets after losing her 13th match in a row against Williams, Sharapova, back in control after appearing slightly emotional after match point, withdrew behind some fortune cookie philosophy.
“I don’t have many regrets in life actually,” she mused.
“I try not to have any at all. It would be pretty tough to go about, life - whether I’m on the court or away from it - if I feel like I didn’t do enough at a certain moment,” she said.
“You have to move forward. And it doesn’t matter, you know, how many times I have lost to a player or what situation I was in, whether I was up or down, how it ended or how it finished.”
“You move on,” added Sharapova, who was looking to become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to defend her Roland Garros title.
Sharapova, who will drop to world No.3 on Monday, was simply helpless when Williams fired three aces in the final game.
“If I was built like Serena I hope I’d be able to hit a big serve like that, too. I mean...” Sharapova said after stating that men’s finallist David Ferrer served slower than Williams.
Sharapova said she is looking forward to the grasscourt season as she bids for a second Wimbledon title having beaten Williams there in the 2004 final.
“I love all the tournaments that are coming up. Especially Wimbledon,” she said.
“It’s always the one that I always want to perform well at and the one that I always look forward to.
“It’s not like I really need someone to give me motivation towards that, because when I get to the grass I always feel that that motivation going into it.” (Editing by Martyn Herman)