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French Open 2012: Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani Advance To Women's Final

Maria Sharapova is now one step away from completing the career grand slam.

The Russian defeated No. 4 Czech Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the final of the 2012 French Open. The tournament at Roland Garros is the only major tournament that has eluded Sharapova. The win also moved her into the No. 1 ranking in the world.

Sharapova had her right shoulder surgically repaired in October 2008 and hadn't been able to find consistent success since then. But with her ascension back to the top of the tennis rankings, it is clear Sharapova finally is back to form. From ESPN.com:

"I was in a position a few years ago where I didn't quite know if I would ever be here again on this stage, playing professionally. And not just at that, but at a level to get to No. 1 in the world and a first Roland Garros final for me," Sharapova said. "So a very special day, no doubt."

In the other semifinal, No. 21 Sara Errani defeated No. 6 Samantha Stosur of Austrailia 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. The Italian had never made it past the third round of major tournament until reaching the Australian Open quarters earlier this year. She entered the French Open without a win against a top-10 opponent. Now, she's beaten two in a row and will go for No. 3 — against No. 1 — on Saturday. Again, from ESPN.com:

"It's not a question of believing or not believing," Errani said. "I don't think about that. I just think about playing. I just think about going on court and giving my all. And whatever happens, happens. I've never thought, 'I can't beat someone in the top 10.' "

For more updates on the 2012 French Open, please stay tuned to this StoryStream. For lots more on all things tennis, keep checking SB Nation's dedicated tennis hub.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.