The 2013 French Open women’s finals are set, with Serena Williams, the World Tennis Association's No. 1-ranked player squaring off against No. 2 Maria Sharapova in an epic final match set for at Roland Garros on Saturday, May 8.
Thursday’s action ended predictably, with those two top seeds making their way to the finals. While the results surely surprised no one, the manner in which things unfolded was especially intriguing.
Williams reached the finals for the first time since her 2002 French Open title. Sharapova’s win over Victoria Azarenka puts her in position to defend her 2012 championship against Williams, who she hasn’t beaten on the court since 2004.
Here’s a rundown of Thursday’s semifinal matchups.
Serena Williams Dominates Sara Errani
If you look up "domination" on the Internet, one of the first results you should find is the match recap of Williams’ 6-0, 6-1 semifinals clobbering of Italian Sara Errani. The contest, if you could call it that, was a 46-minute lession administered by the best in the world.
According to an ESPN Tennis tweet, Williams' win one of historical proportions in a Roland Garros semifinal:
At 31, Williams is playing the best tennis of her career. That was vividly clear to anyone who watched her impressive performance on Thursday.
She dominated with her serve, surrendering just five points throughout the match to her opponent as Williams racked up 40 winners to Errani’s two.
Overall, it was a performance in which Williams relentlessly exerted her power against her smaller opponent.
Victoria Azarenka Pushes Maria Sharapova to the Brink
Things started out well for the defending champion in her 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 win.
Sharapova rocked her third-seeded challenger in the opening set in just 28 minutes, securing her 6-1 victory with an impressive set-clinching ace that made fans wonder whether she would cruise her way to victory.
The second set, however, was a completely different story. Things started out well for both competitors as they drew even at 2-2. Azarenka held serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 advantage before breaking Sharapova’s serve in two of the three final games to capture the set.
Rain then halted play and Azarenka's momentum in the process.
After the brief rain delay, another momentum shift occurred after the player returned to the court. Sharapova dropped the first game, but surged back for a 2-1 lead before Azarenka responded by breaking her to even things up at 2-2. That's when Sharapova took over by grabbing a commanding 5-2 set lead, breaking Azarenka twice in the process.
Azarenka battled back by breaking her Russian opponent and closing the gap to a 5-4, but Sharapova wouldn’t be denied in the next set, holding on her final serve on four consecutive tries to seal her trip to the finals against Williams.