The top two women in the world are the last standing at the French Open. No. 1 Serena Williams blasted Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in 46 minutes on Friday to make her first final in Paris in 11 years. Defending champion Maria Sharapova joins Williams in Saturday’s championship match after ousting Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
While Williams administered a blink-and-you-missed-it blowout, Sharapova needed a little help from a rain delay and showed her trademark grit to fend off the always game Azarenka. With that, the two biggest names in women’s tennis will meet in a Grand Slam final for only the third time overall and the first since 2007.
“I have given myself a chance to face the favorite,” Sharapova said.
Here are some of our favorite photos from Day 12 of the French Open, which started under damp skies and finished under the sun.
Serena Williams: Serena hasn’t lost since February, extending her career-best winning streak to 30 matches. (Christophe Ena/AP)
Maria Sharapova: The Russian won back-to-back three-set matches to maker her second French Open final in a row. She credits her improved physicality for her clay success. “If I play a match like I did yesterday [a three-setter against Jelena Jankovic] and come out the next day, I don’t think maybe five, six, seven years ago I would have felt as fresh as I did today,” Sharapova said. “That has [been] one of the biggest improvements, one of the key ones in my career.” (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)
Victoria Azarenka: She dominates Sharapova on outdoor hard courts but hasn’t found the solution to the Russian’s high-octane game on the dirt. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
Spectators wait out the rain delay: Azarenka won the second set before rain came pouring down and the players were called off court. “I think the break kind of changed the momentum, for sure,” Azarenka said. “I was just trying to make things happen too quick and start missing the ball. It was a little bit unfortunate.” (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
Victoria Azarenka: She can still take over the No. 2 ranking on Monday if Sharapova loses in the final. The 23-year-old has now made the semifinals of four straight Slams. (Christophe Ena/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova: She needed two chances to serve out the match, but Sharapova let loose a shout of relief and joy when Azarenka’s last ball landed wide. (Christophe Ena/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams: “It would be awesome for me,” Serena said when asked about the prospect of winning her second French Open title. “I don’t think there’s anything that can describe how happy I would be. But right now, it’s still a dream.” (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
Sara Errani: The Italian managed only 16 points in two sets against the dominant Williams. (Petr David Josek/AP)
Maria Sharapova: The defending champion knows she’s up against it in the final. She’s 2-13 against Williams and hasn’t beaten her since 2004. “I’d be lying if it doesn’t bother me, obviously,” she said when asked about her record against the 15-time major champion. “Obviously whatever I did in the past hasn’t worked, so I’ll have to try to do something different and hopefully it will.” (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams: No. 1 with a bullet. Bring on all challengers. (Petr David Josek/AP)