Millennium Post

It's beauty vs bold in Paris!

Maria Sharapova survived a gruelling test to reach the French Open final for the second straight year on Thursday with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 defeat of Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. In a disjointed match opposing two of the biggest hitters in women’s tennis, the defending champion opened the semifinal in style, then lost her way for a set and finally, on the back of a brief rain delay, resumed control.

Azarenka, bidding to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the Australian and French Opens in the same year, can count herself unlucky to have seen her momentum halted by the rain, but Sharapova was marginally the better player.

The second seed will now play either top seed Serena Williams or Sara Errani of Italy, who she beat in last year’s final in Saturday’s championship match. ‘I really had to play to the end today and I am extremely happy to be back in the final,’ said Sharapova. ‘(The rain delay) gave me a little bit of time to think of what I did well in the first set and try to get that back again for the third.’

Serena Williams blitzed hapless Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in just 46 minutes on Thursday to reach her second French Open final where she’ll face defending champion Maria Sharapova for the title. The American top seed, who won her only Roland Garros crown on her last final appearance in 2002, will be playing in her 20th career Grand Slam championship showdown after stretching her current winning streak to 30 matches. Friday’s action sees Rafael Nadal taking on World No.1 Novak Djokovic.

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