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Victory Means a Lot to Champion

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Maria Sharapova was ahead, and that was the problem. She was up a set and a break on an opponent who appeared to be hopelessly overmatched. She was four games from winning a tournament that few thought she would ever win, four games from achieving something, a career Grand Slam, that no woman in a decade had achieved. How many more chances would she have to complete this historic double, and to do it against Sara Errani, a player ranked outside the Top 10?

The answer, most likely, was none—this was Sharapova’s chance. The thought was enough to make the game’s reigning ice queen crack just a little. Serving at 2-1 in the second set, her customary shrieks took on a desperate tone. Instead of swinging freely, as she had throughout this clay season, she began to muscle the ball. For one of the few times during the day, her service toss went awry. From 40-15 up,...

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