Preview: In a tournament of upsets, Sara Errani is looking to claim the biggest of them all in the French Open final. Having already beaten two former champions at Roland Garros, along with two top 10 players, no one has epitomized the theme of this year's event like the 21st seeded Italian.
But beating the newly crowned world No. 1 Maria Sharapova would take Errani on to a whole new level.
Already guaranteed a spot in the top 10 when the rankings are released on Monday, the 25-year-old had given hints to her clay-court nous before her surprise run in Paris. Beginning the year ranked at 45, Errani had already risen significantly up the rankings based on three tournament wins on the dirt this season. She also comes into the the final already as a French Open champion, having won the women's doubles title with Roberta Vinci on Friday.
And, despite facing off against a player who already has three grand slams to her name, Errani will take confidence from the fact that the last four Slams have been claimed by first-time winners.
Errani should be boosted too by the knowledge that Sharapova was favorite to win the final at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in the past 12 months but came up a long way short on both occasions.
Those scars will also be weighing on the Russian's mind as she prepares to try and win the one title remaining from her career Grand Slam.
It is perhaps harsh on Sharapova that Errani's incredible story has taken some of the focus off her achievements. Simply reaching three grand slam finals in a year, along with returning to world No. 1 is some feat given what she has been through.
Four years ago Sharapova underwent serious shoulder surgery that had many wondering if she would ever again be a contender for the sport's major titles. But having redesigned her serve and largely overcome a debilitating propensity for double faults, she now stands back at the top of the women's game.
Yet, in spite of all she has accomplished, Sharapova is the ultimate competitor and the 24-year-old will be desperate to take advantage of what she will doubtless realize will likely be her best opportunity to claim the French Open title.
The pair have never met before, but there is little doubt that the match will be played on Shaprapova's terms. After disappointing defeats to Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka in her last two Slam finals, if Sharapova can do herself justice this time around then it will be third-time lucky. But underdog Errani should not be counted out from potentially helping provide the classic match the women's event has so far lacked.