Maria Sharapova wins 2014 French Open crown

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(CNN) — Nobody solves a problem like Maria Sharapova.

The Russian had to unleash some of her best tennis to defeat Simona Halep and win a second French Open crown under sunny Parisian skies Saturday.

Sharapova, whose last grand slam victory came on the Roland Garros clay in 2012, saw off the rising Romanian star 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4 after a tight tussle.

Halep, the world No.4, was playing in her first grand slam final but she showed few signs of being overwhelmed by the occasion.

Refusing to succumb to Sharapova’s power play, the Romanian forced a second set tiebreak and fought back from 5-3 down to win the breaker and take the final into a deciding set.

The pendulum swung between the two players in the third set with neither ready to relinquish their grip on the French Open title.

It was Sharapova who made the decisive break for a 5-3 lead and she coolly served out for the championship, falling to her knees after sealing the title.

The 27-year-old has been the one to watch on the clay this season and she will now aim to take her game to the grass as she tunes up for Wimbledon, a title she won in 2011.

“This is the toughest grand slam final I’ve ever played,” Sharapova said as she collected her trophy in Paris.

“All respect to Simona, she played an unbelievable match today.”

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