Friday, 8 June 2012

French Open Final Sharapova v Errani: Preview and Predictions

The French Open has thrown up a number of surprises in the women's draw in previous years; who would have thought at the start of the 2010 championships, Francesca Schiavone would be the last woman standing and then nearly repeat her success one year later, only to be denied by another unfancied name in Li Na.  2012 has been equally unpredictable with the number 21 seed, Sara Errani progressing to a final with Maria Sharapova.  It is without doubt, a bigger surprise compared to when Schiavone reached the final in 2010 as before this tournament, Errani had never previously gone past the second round of Roland Garros or had a top 10 win. 

Errani's sheer joy at making the final in Paris

Errani's opponent in the final will be her toughest test yet but she has shown throughout the course of the week that as the level of opponent has increased, she has adjusted extremely well to the challenge.  Maria Sharapova, who beat Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals, 6-3 6-3 will now go back to the world number one spot, overtaking Victoria Azarenka who has held the spot since January.  Sharapova should be paying large thanks to Virginie Razzano who took out her biggest threat in the draw, Serena Williams who she would have faced in the quarter-finals.  Sharapova has looked in imperious form having dropped just one set to Klara Zakopalova in the 4th round.  Errani has dropped three sets in six matches; they came against Casey Dellacqua in the first round, Ana Ivanovic in the third round and finally to Sam Stosur in the semi-finals where she showed incredible mental toughness to close out a 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory.

Highlights from the Sharapova/Kvitova semi-final

Maria Sharapova and Sara Errani have never played each other before although when you come into a Grand Slam final, the head-to-head really has no indication on how the match will turn out because there are so many other factors that will come into play.  The big one tomorrow will be how Errani copes with the pressure of playing her first Grand Slam final.  She and Roberta Vinci won the doubles competition today, which would no doubt have calmed her nerves, but you get the feeling she will just go out and enjoy the occasion.  I think Sharapova will cement her status as the new world number one by claiming the title (and achieving the career slam too!), but Errani will be the name that many remember from this womens tournament whatever the scoreline...
Maria Sharapova

  Final Prediction - Sharapova to beat Errani in straight sets

Thoughts? Your Predictions?

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