- French Open, Day 14
'Your French Open runner-up, Maria Sharapova...'
Milestones for milesOn Saturday Maria Sharapova won her first French Open title after her first ever appearance in the final, while also completing the career grand slam having won the other three 'big' tournaments once during her career.
She is the tenth woman to complete the feat and it came at a suitably fitting time - she was already assured of becoming the new world No. 1 when the world rankings come out next week, but doing that is always better with a win.
Going the distanceSharapova's 6-3 6-2 victory means it is now 11 years since the women's final went to a deciding third set - and her win wasn't even the most one-sided of those short but sweat showpiece events (back in 2005, Justine Henin defeated Mary Pierce 6-1 6-1).
The last time the women's finale actually went to three sets was in 2001 and it was suitably epic; Jennifer Capriati defeating a young Kim Clijsters 12-10 in the third after losing the opening set 6-1. Maybe we'll see something similar next year.
And the winner is... not herFar be it for us to disparage the difficulty of being the court announcer at Roland Garros - after all, to put it concisely all we do is sit and write about sport all day - but we really can't imagine it is that difficult a job. You just turn up, introduce the two players, wait for the match to be finished, then announce the winner and go home. It really is pretty much that simple.
Not that the announcer on Court Philippe Chatrier could manage that on Saturday, mind, as they proudly introduced the "2012 French Open runner-up, Maria Sharapova" as the presentation got underway. The mistake sparked widespread laughter in the stands, before the spectators broke out into spontaneous applause as Sharapova began clapping Errani as the Italian - unexpectedly elevated to championship winner - jokingly got up to take the adulation of the crowd. A touching moment borne out of rank amateurism.
Four is the magic numberSharapova's triumph came four years after her last such win - at the 2008 Australian Open - while it is also four years since she was last ranked at the top of the world. To put that in perspective, four years ago a rubbish England side underwhelmed at a major international tournament, whereas this year... well, we could have the same outcome. See? History. Repeated.
Working overtimeErrani could have been forgiven for being a bit fatigued given her workrate already in 2012. Combining her doubles responsibilities (she won the women's doubles title on Friday), the resilient Italian has now played 88 competitive matches in the calendar - while Sharapova has played a 'mere' 41. If she keeps going this deep in major events she may have to reconsider her schedule slightly - in 2010 she played 126 matches, while in 2011 she totted up 115.
Speaking in tonguesBy our rudimentary calculations (quite literally - we used our fingers), the victorious Sharapova spoke four different languages during the presentation ceremony after her win.
She opened with English, before cracking out a "petit peu" of French to delight those who had witnessed her historic moment. She then thanked her physio, Juan Reque, in Spanish for his work in keeping her fit and on form, before reverting to her native Russian to send a special message to her parents. For once, the on-court translator found himself utterly useless.