PARIS – For a decade, the French Open has presented more problems for Serena Williams than any of the other Grand Slam tournaments.
Her collection of 15 major championships includes just one from Roland Garros.
Ever since she beat her sister in the 2002 final in Paris, one thing or another has prevented Williams from a second French Open trophy. She’d love to change that by beating defending champion Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s final.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can describe how happy I would be,” Williams said.”
When asked whether she now feels comfortable on the clay courts, Williams replied: “I have always felt really comfortable. I just haven’t done great.”
Last year brought the most surprising defeat of all, against 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano of France.
But since then, Williams is 73-3. At 31 she is the oldest woman to be ranked No. 1. And for the first time in 11 years, she is back in the French Open final.
“Obviously she’s in form,” Sharapova said.
Putting aside a three-set struggle against 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals, the American has dropped a total of 11 games across her other five matches.
Now the No. 2-ranked Sharapova will see what she can do against Williams.
Back in 2004, Sharapova, still only 17, stunned Williams — and the tennis world — by winning their Wimbledon final in straight sets. Four months later, Sharapova beat Williams again, this time in the final of the WTA Championships.
They’ve played each other 12 times since — and Williams is 12-0 in those matches.
“Whatever I did in the past hasn’t worked,” Sharapova said.
For years, whatever Williams did in Paris didn’t work. So far so good this time.