Sara Errani: Will She Be This Year's Grand Slam Surprise Winner?

Van SiasContributor IIIApril 15, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25:  Sara Errani of Italy plays a backhand in her quarter final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day ten of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

The finals are set at the WTA Tour stop in Barcelona, Spain, as Italian Sara Errani will face off against Dominka Cibulkova of Slovakia.

Errani has won nine straight matches on clay over the course of the past few weeks and is shooting for her second title of the season, having already captured the singles crown in Acapulco. That win was Errani's first since 2008, a year that saw her net two victories.

Errani has been playing the best tennis of her career, even better than that impressive '08 season. Can it—or rather, will it—be enough, though, to lift her to the upper echelon of the game, which includes winning Grand Slam titles?

She's already had an impressive result at the year's first major, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. There, she notched wins over Nadia Petrova and Jie Zheng on her way to the last eight of the tournament, before Petra Kvitova, the No. 2 seed then, brought her run to a halt.

However, though, Errani seems to have found her groove—especially on the clay—and could be a likely dark horse heading into the French Open in a few weeks.

She's not the most powerful player on tour, but has a remarkable understanding of the game, which can be enough to stem the tide and possibly break through.

Another factor in her emergence as a French Open contender has to do with the parity on the women's tour right now. Last year, four different women won Grand Slam titles. And that number becomes even more impressive when looking at the fact that three different women won majors, a testament to the depth of the sport.

Errani could find herself among the major title winners—possibly in the weeks ahead with the French right around the corner.