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Sharapova secures Strasbourg win for timely French Open boost

Russian top seed Maria Sharapova beat Germany’s Kristina Barrois 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the WTA Strasbourg claycourt tournament here on Saturday to secure her second title of 2010.


Russian Maria Sharapova returns the ball to German Kristina Barrois during their final match of the WTA international open tennis tournament of Strasbourg on May 22, 2010. Sharapova won 7-5, 6-1. AFP

The former world number one trailed 3-5 in the first set to Barrois, who was contesting her first ever WTA final, but hit back to take it 7-5 and then cruised to victory in the second set.

“If you asked me before the tournament if I’d come back again, I would’ve said I’d have to win this year,” said the Russian.

“I guess that’s a sign I need to come back. I had a great week. Obviously you don’t know how things turn out but I hope to come back. “I’m looking forward to Roland Garros. It’s obviously the most challenging of the Grand Slams for me, but I’ve done well there before.”

Barrois added: “It was a good tournament, no matter what happened today. I had my chances in the first set but couldn’t win it, and then she put so much pressure on me.”

Sharapova had already beaten three-time Strasbourg champion and clay specialist Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain in Friday’s semi-final.

The 23-year-old Russian superstar, who also tasted success at Memphis in February, has been seeded 12th for the French Open beginning on Sunday. Victory at Strasbourg represents her 22nd career title, which includes three Grand Slams, and her first on red clay, after a green clay win at Amelia Island in 2008.

Sharapova returned to competition in the middle of last year after a long spell on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury and is currently ranked 13th in the world.

She is not among the favourites at Roland Garros, where she reached the semi-finals in 2007 and the quarter-finals last year.

STRASBOURG, France, Sunday (AFP)

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