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Nadal in seventh heaven after French Open triumph

MARIA SHARAPOVA was crowned the French Open women’s champion on Saturday, but the men had to wait an extra day, as the tournament was not completed on schedule for the first time since 1973.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic resumed the men’s final today, with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, and Djokovic to serve.

However, the fourth set went to Nadal (7-5) to give him victory to make it a record seven French Open titles, ending Djokovic's hopes of becoming the third man to win four consecutive grand slams.

Yesterday, the top two players in the world played the third set through a steady drizzle after resuming play following a 34-minute delay with Nadal leading 5-3 in the second set. Shortly before 7pm play was suspended again and never resumed.

Sharapova already was slated to become the new No1 in the WTA Tour rankings today. The coronation was complete as she defeated Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2 in the women’s final to win her first French Open.

After the final point, Sharapova thought about it for just a moment, and then fell to her knees on the fabled red clay of Court Philippe Chatrier in sheer disbelief.

Sharapova, who a few years ago wondered if she could ever play top-level tennis again as she faced career-threatening shoulder surgery, had not just won another major title, she had done it on her least-favourite surface, the one most thought she would never conquer. “It’s the most unique moment I’ve experienced in my career,” Sharapova said.

“When I won Wimbledon at 17, I thought that would be the most treasured moment of my career. But I realised that this was special – even more so.”

With the win in Paris, Sharapova now has a matched set: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles. She is the sixth female player in the Open era to do so.