Tennis: Maria Sharapova has won the 2014 French Open by denying world No.4 Simona Halep her first Grand Slam title. The Russian defeated the Romanian 6-4, 6-7(5) 6-4 in the final to win her 5th Grand Slam. The marathon and gruelling match lasted for 3 hours and 2 minutes.
THE FIRST SET Sharapova started final by hitting a forehand winner but a double fault and few errors followed, as Halep broke in the very first game. Sharapova made few more unforced errors in the second game as Halep held to take a 2-0 lead.
The Russian got on the board by holding her serve in the third game and then there was a long game on Halep's serve. The game lasted for almost 10 minutes, in which both players had many game points, but at the end it went to Sharapova on her 4th break point.
There was another marathon and intense game on Sharapova's serve, which she held finally and then broke Halep to win 4 games in a row and take a 4-2 lead. Sharapova held her service game easily in the 7th game to go 5-2 up.
But Halep fought back there and broke Sharapova after holding her game to make it 5-4. In the 10th game both players tried hard to outsmart eachother and there were some long and tough rallies. Sharapova had a set point at 30-40 but Halep saved it to make it deuce.
But she could not save the second one as she missed the forehand wide to give the first set 6-4 to Sharapova. The first set lasted for 57 minutes and there were 18 winners and 16 unforced errors for the Russian. 9 winners and 9 unforced errors for Halep.
THE SECOND SET Sharapova started the second set by holding the first game easily and on Halep's serve she had some chances to break. Halep saved two break points but on Deuce she double faulted and then pulled a backhand wide to give break in the second set.
Serving at 2-0, the Russian double faulted at 0-15 to 0-30 down and soon found herself two break points down at 15-40. She hit a backhand in the net to give the break back. The 27-year-old hit few more unforced errors as Halep held her game to level it at 2-2.
In the 5th game of the second Sharapova hit 3 double faults, but that did not cost her the game, as she held her serve to win a crucial game. Both players held their next service games easily as it was 4-3 in favour of Sharapova in the second set.
In the 8th game, Sharapova had a break point on Halep's serve, which the Romanian saved with a forehand winner. There was another break point opportunity for thr Russian, but Halep saved this one with backhand winner. She held that game to make it 4-4.
Sharapova had a game point to take a 5-4 lead at 40-30 but Halep played two brilliant points to have a break point. After another long rally, Sharapova pulled a forehand wide to give the break to Halep. Halep served for the set at 5-4 but Sharapova immediately bounced back and had 2 break points at 15-40.
Halep saved one and she was unlucky as Sharapova hit a net-cord at one of the most important points of the match to get the break back and level it at 5-5. Sharapova soon found herself 3 break points down at 0-40 again. She saved two of them with big serves but hit a backhand long to give the break to Halep again.
Halep was serving for the set for the second time Sharapova started the game but hitting a beautiful backhand winner and soon had 3 break points at 0-40. She converted the first one and broke Halep again to force the set into a tie-break.
The 22-year-old got a mini-break in the first point but gave it back by hitting one in the net. Both players exchanged mini-breaks another time as it was levelled at 2-2 in the tie-break. A huge COME ON came from Sharapova as she held first point in the tie-break to take 3-2 lead and changed the sides with a 4-2 lead.
Halep was a mini-break down but she kept fighting to get it back and came back from 3-5 down to level it at 5-5. She had a set point at 6-5 and she converted it, as Sharapova hit a backhand wide to level it at one set all.
The second set lasted for 72 minutes, in which Sharapova hit 14 winners and 21 unforced errors while Halep hit 8 winners and 16 unforced errors. THE THIRD SET Third set record in 2014 was 12-3 for Sharapova and 8-1 for Halep, as the Romanian's only defeat had come against Sharapova in Madrid.
The Russian was also going into third set with a 19 match winning streak in 3 sets matches on clay. Sharapova started the 3rd set breaking Halep, but the Romanian immediately broke back. Halep held to make it 2-1 but Sharapova won next three games by breaking Halep in the 5th game and went 4-2 up.
She took all four points by hitting winners in the 6th game. Halep held her game to make it 4-3 and Sharapova double faulted at crucial point when she was break point down in the 8th game. This gave the break back to Halep and it was levelled at 4-4 again.
Sharapova played a brilliant on Halep's serve next and hit two amazing winners to break Halep at love, which gave her a lead of 5-4 and a chance to serve out the match. One game away from the title, Sharapova started very aggressively and made Halep hit a backhand long at first point.
She went 30-love up by hitting a forehand volley and had 3 match points at 40-love when Halep hit one wide. She hit another powerful ground stroke which Halep could not return and with it Sharapova won the her second French Open title.
The match lasted 3 hours and 2 minutes, making it the second longest women's singles French Open final in last 40 years. This was Sharapova's fifth Grand Slam, 32nd Career WTA title and 10th title on clay court. She is ranked third behind Serena Williams (17) and Venus Williams (7) among active players now.