Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi win mixed title

Italy's Sara Errani reached her first ever Grand Slam final with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win over Samantha Stosur at Roland Garros on Thursday. Maria Sharapova defeated Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 in the other semifinal — and, in the process, assured herself of the World No.1 ranking.

Later, in the mixed doubles final, seventh seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza defeated Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6(3), 6-1. The unseeded Polish-Mexican combination had, on Wednesday, upset fifth seeds Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina 7-6(2), 6-3 in the semifinals.

This is Bhupathi's and Sania's second Grand Slam title together; they had won the Australian Open in 2009.

If Errani triumphs on Saturday, she will be only the second Italian woman to win at Roland Garros — two years after Francesca Schiavone's breakthrough triumph, and the first player ranked outside the top-20 to win in Paris since 1976.

“I have no words, it's incredible,” she said. “It was very windy and one side was easy and the other side more difficult. It's an amazing feeling. I did not expect this and I can't believe it.”

Stosur started off well enough — a comfortable service hold to open was followed by a first break of serve. But, Errani broke right back and serves were held comfortably until the 11th game when Stosur again netted an easy volley at the net on the third break point to Errani. The 21st-seeded Italian served out to take the first set.

Stosur broke early and had a run of five games in a row, and put away the second set 6-1.

The momentum switched again, though, at the start of the deciding set as Stosur started to misfire on serve.

Errani moved 3-0 up, only for Stosur to break back and level at 3-3.

With the wind picking up, the outcome of what had been a topsy-turvy match was on a knife-edge and, at 3-4 down, Stosur ceded serve once again, saving two break points, only to hit a forehand long and wide on the third.

Errani served out for the biggest win of her career.

Second seeded Sharapova was semifinalist here in 2007 and 2011.

“It's an amazing feeling to be in my first final,” said Sharapova, who will take the No.1 spot for the first time since 2008.

“That's pretty special. After my shoulder surgery, my ranking was out of the 100 in the world, but I thought if I could be No.1 in the world before that then I could do it again.”

Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open champion, will become just the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam if she takes Saturday's final.

But she admitted she is in for a tough contest against Errani, who she has never played before.

“It'll be a tough final. She's a great claycourt player and it will be a real challenge,” Sharapova said.

Keywords: French Open

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