French Open: Maria Sharapova confident she beat Serena in Paris final
Last Updated: 07/06/13 2:05pm
Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams clash in Saturday's final
Maria Sharapova is confident she can end her 12-match losing run and defend her French Open title against Serena Williams when they meet in Paris on Saturday.
Williams has won a career-best 30 consecutive matches, the longest single-season streak on tour since 2000. Sharapova has won 13 consecutive matches in Paris.
World No 1 Williams routed last year's runner-up Sara Errani 6-0 6-1 in only 46 minutes to reach her first final at Roland Garros since she won her only French Open crown in 2002.
In contrast Sharapova, the world's No 2, was made to battle for two hours and 10 minutes to see off Victoria Azarenka 6-1 2-6 6-4.
The last time Moscow-born Sharapova defeated Williams was at the end-of-season WTA Tour Championships in 2004.
Sharapova, Florida-based for 15 of her 26 years, said, with a smile, ahead of her showdown with the Califonian: "I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bother me, obviously.
"I don't think that it would be a pretty competitive statement if I said it didn't. I would love to change that around.
"I'm proud of the way that I came through this tournament. I have given myself a chance to face the favourite."
"Obviously whatever I did in the past hasn't worked, so I'll have to try to do something different and hopefully it will. I'm proud of the way that I came through this tournament. I have given myself a chance to face the favourite.
"I had a tremendous year last year here. Obviously to come back as the defending champion, it's extremely special to get back on that stage where it comes down to the last two players of the tournament.
"I'm happy from where I was in the beginning of the tournament to where I am today. I just hope that I can improve for the next one."
Williams has been in awesome form, winning 30 straight matches and 73 from 76 since losing in the first round here last year.
She was in no mood to be charitable for outclassed opponent Errani, and said: "I definitely can't allow myself (to feel for Errani).
"She's a great girl. I really, really like her. I love her fighting spirit. I really like her as a person. But when you go out there, you just have to play and forget about who you're playing."