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Serena defeats Sharapova to win French Open crown

1:54 PM, Jun 8, 2013   |    comments
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PARIS - Serena Williams spent the French Open fortnight showing off her French.

Now she can can parler francais while holding the French Open trophy.

Top-seeded Williams beat No. 2 Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 to secure her second French Open title, 11 years to the day after she beat her older sister Venus to win her first in 2002.

A year after crashing out of the French Open's opening round for the first time in her career, Williams returned to play one of her best wire-to-wire tournaments.

She dropped just 29 games, matching her best Grand Slam effort (she also dropped 29 games on her way to the 2002 U.S. Open title).

With 16 Grand Slam titles, the 31-year-old American trails Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova by two majors for sixth place all time.

Fist pumping and screaming "C'mon!" almost from the get-go, Sharapova survived a 0-40 deficit in the opening game and then broke Williams for 2-0.

But the 26-year-old failed to convert two game points on her serve the next game, and Williams - invoking some vocal histrionics and menacing fist pumps of her own - broke back.

Sharapova didn't fade, breaking Williams again for 4-4, but the American had too much firepower. Her baseline drives were deeper. Her serves were more accurate. Her defense was better.

Since her first-round exit here a year ago, Williams has three of the last four majors and a gold medal at the London Olympics.

Williams, who charmed crowds with her on-court interviews in the native tongue - something said she had prepared for 12 months ago - eclipsed seven-time champion Evert as oldest Roland Garros winner in the Open era (31 years, 256 days).

Sharapova, the defending French Open champion, dropped to 2-14 vs. Williams, including 13 in a row and four defeats this season.

Williams is 16-4 in Grand Slam finals. Sharapova, the only other active player to complete a career Grand Slam, fell to 4-4.

USA TODAY

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