Defending champion Maria Sharapova and 2003 winner Serena Williams met to see who would come away with a second career French Open title.


The Setting
 

In 2012, Serena Williams did something she’d never done before: lose in the first round of a Grand Slam. That French Open defeat at the hands of Virginie Razzano ignited a spark rarely ever seen in tennis as she won her next two Grand Slams and her first Olympics singles title.

That form continued into 2013, and by the time the French Open rolled around, Williams had won four tournaments in a row, including her last three on clay. In Paris, she stormed to the final with the loss of only one set, reaching the championship round for the first time since her title-winning run in 2003.

It would be a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 as defending champion Maria Sharapova reached consecutive finals at the same major for the first time since 2007-’08 in Australia. The second seed only dropped two sets on her way to the title round.

The Final
 

Facing each other for the fourth time already in 2013, Sharapova had only won one set in their other encounters on the year. That feat, pulled off in the Miami Open final, was actually the first set she’d won against Williams in five years.

In Paris, Sharapova found herself facing three break points to start off the match, but she fought them off and continuing with that early momentum, broke Williams in her first game to take a 2-0 lead. Williams quickly erased that deficit to take a 4-2 lead.  Breaks were the name of the game in the first set, as Sharapova clawed back to 4-4. Williams scored yet another break in the next game, and then held to win the first set 6-4.

After exchanging holds in the first two games of the second set, Williams struck first to take a 2-1 lead and then consolidated the break to put herself in prime position. With Sharapova serving at 3-5, the game went to deuce, putting Williams two points away from the title. Sharapova took those two, leaving Williams to serve for the championship. At 40-15, Williams reached double match point, and only needed one as she served an ace to win the French Open for the first time since 2003.

Notable Numbers
 

2

During her spring swing on the European clay, Williams only lost two sets over the course of three tournaments.

3

This was the third Grand Slam final meeting between Williams and Sharapova at a third different tournament: Sharapova beat Williams at Wimbledon in 2004 and Williams won their 2007 Australian Open title match.

31

At 31, Williams became the oldest woman to win the French Open.

Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias


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