The French Open has the women’s final it wanted between the two global superstars of the game, and both insist they will step out onto Court Philippe Chatrier today with the slate wiped clean.
There is no doubt world number one Serena Williams goes into the match as favourite to beat Maria Sharapova for the 13th time in a row.
The American’s nine-year winning streak over her rival would be reason enough, but added to that is her remarkable current form, the best of her life. Since losing in the first round at Roland Garros a year ago, the 31-year-old has lost just three matches and none of her last 30, and on Thursday she beat world number five Sara Errani 6-0 6-1 in 46 minutes.
Errani made only three unforced errors, she simply was not allowed to play, and Sharapova knows she must be at her peak for the whole match if she is to have a chance of winning a second straight title.
The Russian did win the first set when they met in Miami this year, one of only three she has managed since her last victory over Williams in 2004, but lost the third to love. She said of her record: “If I was thinking about it, that wouldn’t be a great mindset to go into the match.