PARIS — Already a big name on the red carpet, Maria Sharapova is now a champion on the red clay, too.
The Russian star won the French Open on Saturday, defeating Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in the final at Roland Garros to complete the career Grand Slam.
Second-seeded Sharapova, who was guaranteed of moving to No. 1 in the world regardless of the result, jumped to a quick 4-0 lead against the 21st-seeded Errani, who was in her first Grand Slam final.
But Errani battled back on a cool, blustery day in Paris, turning what looked like a blowout into an 89-minute endurance contest, filled with long rallies that forced Sharapova to reach back and find another gear. Eventually, Sharapova's bigger serve and bigger groundstrokes wore down Errani, who at 5-foot-4½ stands 9½ inches shorter than her opponent.
When Errani netted a short backhand on the third match point, Sharapova dropped gingerly to her knees and buried her head in her hands, then reached back and looked heavenward — a long, hard road back to the top finally capped with the only major title that had eluded her.
Read more in Sunday's Tahlequah Daily Press.