The “Cow on ice” is now long gone. Maria Sharapova stood up to her ‘SharaFamily’ nickname, Claypova, and two years after completing her Carrer Grand Slam, the beautiful russian fell on her knees in front of the crowd in Philippe Chatrier once again, after fighting through her 9th Grand Slam final to conquer Roland Garros for the second time in her career.
Causing sensation since she became Wimbledon Champion ten years ago, clay was by far the worst surface for Sharapova, and until a few years back, no one thought she would lift the Suzanne Lenglen cup, and the russian herself admitted she felt like “A cow on ice” in a clay court. Different reality nowadays, Sharapova learned how to slide and conquered Paris for the first time in 2012, falling in last year’s final to Serena Williams.
After missing most of the second part of the 2013 season due to another right shoulder injury, Sharapova fell down in the rankings but with her new team, she built a strong clay court season, with titles in Stuttgart and Madrid, and arrived in Paris as a really confident world number 8.
A tough road with 10 hours on court and some amazing fightbacks lead up to the decisive final, where she faced Simona Halep, who has had a great season so far and was seeded #4 in Paris, where she had never gone further than round 2, but this year she made it all the way to her first dream Major final.
Philippe Chartrier witnessed the first women’s final in three sets since 2001, and certainly one of the best in a while. Halep showed up on court ready to enjoy the most important moment of her career, with Sharapova finding her rhythm after dropping the two first games to win a tight and well played set by 6-4. The romanian also proved she knew how to fight back, clinching an 1h12′ set of terrific tennis by both in the tiebreak, by 7-6(5).
Drama was on, Sharapova having won consecutive three-setters on clay and both players coming up with really good records in 2014. Neither of them was going to hand out the trophy and Sharapova seemed mentally stronger after saving two break points and holding at 2-2 after a long game. At 4-all in the third, Sharapova came out like she did in other matches this week, firing up winners from all over the place and wrapping up two nice games to capture the title, 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4.
In the end, standing ovation for the new Roland Garros who celebrated with her team and a crowd, with a lot of romanian support, shouting Simona, and leading the first-time finalist to tears. Simona Halep, the new world 3 at the age of 22, proved she has what it takes to come back and be even more sucessful. Meanwhile, Sharapova climbs up to the fifth spot in WTA rankings and holds on to her 32nd career trophy, fifth Major.