Serena Williams has lived up to her pre-tournament hype and goes into Saturday’s final against Maria Sharapova looking to secure her first French Open title since 2002.
Williams has been in scintillating form so far this year and has won every one of her past 30 competitive matches on the Women’s Tour which has seen her shoot up to the top of the world rankings.
That incredible run stretches back into mid-March as she overcame Sharapova in the Sony Open Tennis final in Miami.
Previous to lifting that title, she had also won the Brisbane International in straight sets over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in January and also finished as runner-up in the Qatar Total Open in February.
In recent weeks, Williams has also added the Family Circle Cup, the Rome Masters and the Madrid Open to her list of tournaments win, defeating Sharapova again convincingly 6-1, 6-4 in the latter.
And Williams looked very convincing in her semi-final match against Italian Sara Errani, thrashing her in straight sets 6-0, 6-1.
The American has only dropped one set so far in the tournament, that was during the quarter-final match against Svetlana Kuznetsova and holds a daunting record over Sharapova.
The last time the Russian managed to beat Williams was way back in 2004 with the reigning Wimbledon champion winning all 12 of their meetings since then.
In fact, Sharapova has only managed to win three sets in all those matches and is certainly the outsider for Saturday’s final.
The 26-year-old has only won two out of 15 matches against Williams and says she’ll have to try something different in an attempt to turn the tables and secure the title at Roland Garros this year.
It’s easy to forget that Sharapova is of course the defending champion of the competition after beating Errani 6-3, 6-2, and won’t want to give up the title without a fight.
But she found it tough going in her semi-final against Victoria Azarenka but nevertheless progressed with a two sets to one victory.
Sharapova dominated the opening set, taking it 6-1 but her opponent got a foothold in the second, and broke the Russian’s serve several times to level, 6-2. But Sharapova finished the stronger, winning a close final set 6-4.
She did progress through her first four matches in the tournament without dropping a set, defeating Hsieh Su-Wei, Euginie Bouchard, Zheng Jie and Sloane Stephens before coming through her quarter-final against Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 4-6, 3-6.
In terms of the bookies, they all have Williams as favourite and by quite a long way, William Hill providing the best odds of 1/5.
Bet Victor are offering the top odds on Sharapova retaining her title, with tempting odds of 23/5 likely to tempt a number of punters.
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