In one of the best and most competitive women’s finals in recent Roland Garros history, Maria Sharapova defeated Simona Halep of Romania in Paris, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4. It was Sharapova’s second victory at the French, her fifth Major title, but only the first one where she has repeated. (She won here three years ago.)
For the 22-year-old Halep, it was her first Major final in a year where she has won seven titles and risen from No. 57 to No. 4 in the rankings. At the start of the match, it was the younger woman who seemed more calm and poised, where the veteran Sharapova showed signs of nerves. Simona broke Maria in the first game of the match, though the Russian broke back to level at 2-2. For all the excellent shot-making in the match and thrilling rallies, the serving was not especially fine, and the women traded five breaks of serve in the first set, six in the second, and the opening two games of the third.
The young Romanian demonstrated a great deal of bravery and guile playing her opponent, but Sharapova is a fierce competitor. When the defending champion, Serena Williams, went out of the tournament in the second round, Sharapova became the favorite, and she is not one to let an opportunity pass her by. Less than a year ago, Maria had shoulder surgery, so the comeback from injury makes the victory even sweeter.
Cover Photo (Creative Commons License): Marianne Bevis