Maria Sharapova: Can She Finally Win Her Career Grand Slam at the French Open?

Monica FritschCorrespondent IJune 1, 2011

Sharapova def. Petkovic 6-0,6-3
Sharapova def. Petkovic 6-0,6-3Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

People often say there's a first time for everything.

Maria Sharapova proved that, winning her first title in Rome last month, a tournament that's played on clay, similar to Roland Garros. Sharapova is two wins away from claiming her first French Open title and the career Grand Slam.

She will be facing off against Li Na of China in Thursday's semifinal, and could potentially face French woman Marion Bartoli or defending champion Francesca Schiavone in the final.

Sharapova has a legitimate chance to take the title. I would even venture to say that she's now the favorite, despite being ranked No. 8 in the WTA Singles Rankings.

It has been four years since Sharapova has been in the French Open semifinals, but she's playing better than she was in 2007. She was almost out of the tournament at the hands of Caroline Garcia, a 17-year-old from France. However, Sharapova  righted the ship by beating Yung-Jan Chan, Agnieszka and Andrea Petkovic, all in straight sets.

In the quarterfinals, Sharapova easily defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-0, 6-3. This coming after Petkovic won the title in Strasbourg, France. Sharapova completely overwhelmed Petkovic, particularly with her first serve. Sharapova's first serve percentage was 80 percent to Petkovic's 63 percent. Sharapova won 68 percent of the time on her first serve and Petkovic won 38 percent of the time on hers

Sharapova is by far the most mentally tough person out the four semifinalists. She has more experience in high-pressure situations and more power on her ground strokes than anyone. She should be able to handle anything her opponents throw at her, despite more recent success being on their side, with Li being in the 2011 Australian Open final and Schiavone being the defending French Open Champion. I look for Sharapova to take home her first French Open title.