French Open 2013: I had to fight until the end, admits Maria Sharapova

French Open 2013: World No2 Maria Sharapova admits she had to "fight until the end" to beat Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final

maria sharapova
Maria Sharapova is the defending French Open champion Photo: Marianne Bevis

Maria Sharapova admitted she had to “fight until the end” after beating Victoria Azarenka in three sets to reach Saturday’s French Open final.

The 26-year-old won 6-1 2-6 6-4 in a rain-affected semi-final on Philippe Chatrier to reach her eighth major final – and second successive Roland Garros showpiece.

The second seed blasted her way to a comfortable first set before Azarenka capitalised on a string of errors from her opponent to level the last-four meeting.

But Sharapova eventually served out the match at the second time of asking to book her place in the final against Sara Errani or Serena Williams.

“I really had to fight until the end,” Sharapova said.

“I’m really proud to be back in the final. This is such a special tournament for me. Obviously, being the defending champion, my goal was to reach the final and I’m so happy I’ll be there on Saturday.”

When asked about the brief rain delay, she added: “It actually started drizzling a little bit in the last game. It looked light we might go on or go off, but it gave me a little time to think about what I did well in the first set and try to repeat that in the third.

“Those last few points are the toughest of the match. I had to regroup and serve it out really well.”

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