Sharapova wins 5th grand slam

PARIS - Russia’s Maria Sharapova secured her fifth grand slam triumph and second title at Roland Garros after beating Simona Halep in three sapping sets yesterday.

Sharapova wrapped up a 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 triumph after more than three hours at Roland Garros.

The seventh seed from Russia claimed her fifth grand slam title after Wimbledon 2004, the 2006 US Open, the 2008 Australian Open and her first Roland Garros title two years ago.

Halep, who had not lost a set entering the final, put up a great fight but bowed out after three hours and two minutes – the longest women’s final in Paris since 1996. Sharapova wrapped it up on her first match point when Halep could not return one of her opponent’s sizzling forehands.

“This has been the toughest grand slam final I have ever played,” said an emotional Sharapova.

Halep took the into a third set when the Romanian fourth seed won the second 7-6(5) after losing the first 6-4.

Sharapova was 2-0 up in the second set but Halep recovered to force a tiebreak that she won when her opponent fired wide.

Halep broke in the first game of the match when Sharapova sent a backhand long despite having an open court at her disposal.

Sharapova unsettled Halep with her crosscourt shots but the wily Romanian held on for 2-0.

The Russian bombarded Halep with powerful forehands and managed to break back for 2-2 on her fourth chance when Halep's crosscourt backhand went wide.

Sharapova's third double fault gave Halep another break point, which the Russian saved with another forehand winner down the line before holding for 3-2 after four deuces.

The Russian broke for 4-2, went to 5-2 and then lost two games before taking the set on her opponent's serve when Halep fired a crosscourt forehand wide.

Sharapova won the first game of the second set to love and broke in the second with the contest seemingly heading for a swift conclusion.

Halep would not give up, however, and broke back by forcing Sharapova to net a backhand as the crowd roared "Simona, Simona".

They exchanged four breaks in a row as the set went into a tiebreak and the clock ticked past the two-hour mark. Halep went 5-3 down but then scored four points in a row to send the match into a deciding set. – Agencies

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