It's been a wild ride at the 2013 French Open, but at the end of the women's singles bracket, we've got confirmation that the system works: No. 1 Serena Williams will take on No. 2 Maria Sharapova Saturday for this year's title at Roland Garros.
While the seeding -- based on WTA ranking -- held up, few expected Williams to be at this point heading into this year's tournament. She deserves her ranking, to be sure, but her struggles on clay, and more specifically at Roland Garros, had many asking "Where will she exit this time?" as opposed to "Can she win it again?"
Williams last won the French Open in 2002 and was bounced in the semifinals by Justine Henin the following year. That was the last time she made it to the semifinals, and she has had some pretty poor play since then. Notable matches include a third-round loss to Katarina Srebotnik in 2008 and last year, a shocking first-round exit at the hands of Virginie Razzano.
But if Williams has one thing going for her, it's her head-to-head matchup with Sharapova, this year's defending champion. Williams has an overall 13-2 record against Sharapova, including wins the last 12 times the two have faced off. And if she needs a second thing going for her, it's her 6-0, 6-1 destruction of No. 5 Sara Errani in the semifinals on Thursday.
That match lasted just 46 minutes.
Sharapova bested Victoria Azarenka, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, in the semifinals to make it to her second-straight final at Roland Garros. She's playing extremely well, but her only positive regarding her series against Williams is the fact that she took the first set from Williams in their matchup in Miami back in March. She ultimately lost, but with just three set victories over their last 12 meetings, it's something to strive for.
If Sharapova is to stand any chance, she'll have to come out and win that first set. She needs to channel her well-known aggression and she has to attack from the get-go. Errani made just three unforced errors against Williams in the semifinals, but it's not due to her playing well -- Williams just played over her. She wasn't allowed to make any mistakes because she was never hitting the ball. Sharapova can't fall behind like that.
The television broadcast will be carried by NBC, and it will begin at 9 a.m. ET and run through 2 p.m. The first matchup of the day is the women's final, though the men's doubles final is on right after that. That matchup will see No. 1 seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan take on Nicolas Mahut and Michael Llodra.
No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 2 Maria Sharapova
Men's Doubles Final
No. 1 Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan vs. Michael Llodra & Nicolas Mahut