Maria Sharapova: Forget history, I’m gunning for Serena Williams in French Open final
It is the sort of head-to-head record that might send a player on to the court believing the match was already lost, but Maria Sharapova insisted yesterday that she would not be thinking about the past when she faces Serena Williams in the final of the French Open here this afternoon.
Williams, the world No 1, has beaten Sharapova 12 times in a row since the Russian’s last victory over the American nine years ago. In their last seven meetings Sharapova has won just one set, in the final at Miami three months ago.
The world No 2, nevertheless, says that history will count for nothing today.
“Going into a French Open final, that doesn’t matter,” she said. “It all starts from zero. You’ve got to play until the last point, and believe in yourself.”
Would Sharapova attempt to block that head-to-head record from her mind today? “You certainly try to,” she said. “If I was thinking about it, that wouldn’t be a great mindset to go into a match like that.
“Despite that record and despite me being unsuccessful against her, I’m happy to be setting up chances to go out and face someone who has been dominating tennis for almost a year now. Her success has been incredible.”
She added: “No matter how good she’s playing, you also have to give yourself a bit of credit for getting to that point and doing a few things right to be at that stage and giving yourself an opportunity. Whether you take it, that’s another story, though I’ll obviously be determined.”
Sharapova has a formidable record of her own over the last 12 months. The world No 2 won her first French Open last year, completing her set of Grand Slam titles, and has reached the quarter-finals or better of every tournament she has played since last summer’s Wimbledon.
Her record, nevertheless, pales into insignificance besides Williams’. The 31-year-old American, who is attempting to become the oldest female champion here in the Open era, has lost only three matches since her shocking defeat in the first round at Roland Garros 12 months ago and is currently on a career-best run of 30 wins in a row.
In the semi-finals she blew Italian Sara Errani off the court in 46 minutes for the loss of only one game.
Nor does Sharapova take any solace from her recent performance against Williams in Miami, pointing out that she had not sustained her level of performance for long enough.
“Against her, you have to be able to do that for a longer period of time,” Sharapova said.
“That set and a half wasn’t enough. A let-down here or there is enough to get her back in the match, and that’s what she did there.”
Today will be the first time the world’s top two women have met in a Grand Slam final for nine years and the first time they have done so here since 1995. Those statistics might hint that we could be in for a classic, but the more recent evidence suggests that the final could be all too one-sided.
Tale of the tape: S Williams v Sharapova
31 Age 26
Saginaw, Michigan, US Birthplace Nygan, Russia
5ft 9in Height 6ft 2in
11st Weight 9.4st
Right Plays Right
1995 Turned pro 2001
1 World ranking 2
£28.67m Career earnings £16.5m
W590 L110 Career record W502 L119
51 (15) Career titles (Slams) 29 (4)
13 wins Head-to-head 2 wins
Winner, 2002 French Open best Winner, 2012
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians