Maria Sharapova of Russia won her second French Open on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory against Simona Halep of Romania.
Suddenly, Sharapova has become outstanding on clay and the fact she has played the the last three French Open finals proves how much she has improved from her early days on the surface.
Halep, 22, was playing in her first Grand Slam final after rising from No. 57 to No. 4 in the rankings and winning seven WTA titles since last year’s French Open.
The 2012 champion here and the runner-up last year, Sharapova, 27, has also come a long way in a year. After the French Open last year, she lost in the second round at Wimbledon, missed most of the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, went through two coaching changes, and slipped from fourth to eighth in the rankings.
But Sharapova came to life during the clay-court season, going 19-1 and winning three titles. This is her fifth career Grand Slam championship, but the first time she has won a major twice.