The somewhat predictable final on Philippe Chatrier centre court at the 2013 French Open pitted the world’s top two players in their quest to win a second title on the red clay. Serena Williams was playing in her 20th grand slam final (having won 15), while Maria Sharapova, the reigning champion, was in her 5th. The head to head stat hugely favoured Williams 13-2 – and she had won the last twelve contests, including three in 2013, in which Sharapova managed to win only one set but also lost one to love. Both of the Russian’s two wins were in 2004 – including Wimbledon as a 17 year old.
In warm but windy conditions, Williams won the toss and put Sharapova in to serve. The first game saw her go from 0-40 down to advantage Williams, deuce to her advantage and she then won the game. She then broke Williams and was up 40-15, but the American broke back. Sharapova’s noise levels rose as Williams held for 2-2, then broke again and held for 4-2. The Russian held and got her own break to level, but Williams got yet another break before serving out the set at 6-4.
The Russian started the second set and a very long game ensued, which included two double faults, two Williams advantage points and three deuces before she eventually held after saving five game points. Williams also held and got another break to lead 3-1. Sharapova, fighting all the way, held her next three service games and Williams held her two, to get to 5-4. Serving for the championship, she served three aces, including one on match point to win the title and lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy eleven years to the day since she won her first French Open title – and become the oldest grand slam champion in the open era.
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