Sharapova storms into French Open final and reclaims No. 1 ranking

Ahh, springtime in Paris. A great place to be if your name is Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova reached her first French Open final and reclaimed the No. 1 world ranking by beating fourth-seed Petra Kvitova  Not only did her 6-3 6-3 defeat of  Kvitova allow her to move within two sets of fulfilling her dream of a career Grand Slam, but after a four-year wait, she is back on top of the WTA rankings.

The second-seed Sharapova lost her two previous Roland Garros semifinals. She’ll face 21st-seeded Sara Errani of Italy on Saturday with a chance to add to major championships she won at Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006, and the Australian Open in 2008. If she is victorious, Sharapova will be the 10th woman with a title from each major.

“A few years ago I don’t know if I even had a ranking after having my shoulder surgery (in August 2008) and it’s special to be back on top again,” a beaming Sharapova told the crowd.

Never afraid to show her iron will in the face of adversity, Sharapova has made an amazing comeback. Three years ago, the Russian dropped as low as 126th in ranking. This year, she has won two tournaments and finished runner-up in three more, including the Australian Open. That, plus the performance at Roland Garros, has helped push her back on top.

“I’ve been in the [French Open] semi-finals three times,” Sharapova said. “And always dreamed to be in the final and finally I have that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, things aren’t too bad for Errani either. Although not as well known as Sharapova, this will be her first French Open final as well. She advanced with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 stunner over No. 6 seed Samantha Stosur, the U.S. Open champion. And Errani has not one, but two dates in the French Open finals. In addition to the singles match, she is also teaming with Roberta Vinci in doubles, and they’ll play Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova for that title.

Yup. Springtime in Paris. It’s a beautiful thing.

Be sure to catch the final Saturday, June 9th 9:00 a.m. EST on NBC.

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