For more than a decade one tournament has eluded the world’s best women’s tennis player, but Saturday she could finally shine once again in the French Open clay.
Making her first final in Paris since 2002, No. 1 ranked Serena Williams will face defending champion No. 2 Maria Sharapova at Philippe Chatrier. That title 11 years ago is still the 31-year-old’s only one at Roland Garros.
Williams decimated Italy’s Sara Errani in straight sets 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals, and the 31-year-old has looked particularly strong at Roland Garros this year. As for Sharapova, the Russian star needed an extra set in her 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 win over No. 3 Victoria Azarenka.
Williams has dominated Sharapova 13-2 in their head-to-head meetings over the last nine years, including three victories on clay.
The two have met three times this year including two finals. Williams swept the 26-year-old 6-1, 6-4 in the finals in Madrid, but needed three sets in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 finals win in Miami.
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Overall, Williams has captured five singles titles this season with a 36-2 record, compared to Sharapova’s 30-4 mark and two titles.
Prediction: It’s highly unlikely Sharapova can beat Williams. The American has been too dominate in this pairing over the years, and while she could concede a set, Williams rarely falters in these situations. Expect an intense final, with Williams to capture the title.
Betting Odds: Williams is a +600 favorite.
Where to watch: The match will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern and coverage will be provided by NBC, and a free online stream of their coverage can be viewed at NBC Live Extra here.