Paris, France (Sports Network) - Russian superstar Maria Sharapova will face diminutive Italian Sara Errani in Saturday's ladies' final at the 2012 French Open. The fellow 25-year-olds will meet for the first time in their careers.
The second-seeded three-time major champion Sharapova, who will be become the new No. 1 player in the world on Monday, will appear in her first French Open final and is a Saturday victory away from completing a career Grand Slam. She would become the 10th woman in history to capture a career Slam with a win.
The tall Russian will appear in her third Grand Slam final at the last four majors. She lost to Petra Kvitova in last year's Wimbledon finale and succumbed to current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in January's Aussie championship match. Sharapova defeated Kvitova in the semifinals here in Paris on Thursday.
Sharapova is 26-16 in her career finals, including a 2-3 record this year. She titled on clay in Stuttgart and Rome and has been a runner-up at the Aussie Open, Indian Wells and Miami this season.
The 6-foot-2 stalwart is 3-3 in her career Grand Slam finals, with the victories coming at Wimbledon in 2004, the 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Aussie Open.
Sharapova is a surprising 17-1 on clay this year.
The 21st-seeded Errani, meanwhile, has beaten top-10 women in her last two outings, this after going winless in her first 28 matches against top-10 competition. She topped 2010 French Open runner-up Sam Stosur on Thursday, and surprised world No. 10 German Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.
Errani, who is 24-3 on clay this year, will appear in her first-ever Grand Slam final and gives Italy a finalist at Roland Garros for a third straight year. Francesca Schiavone upset Stosur in the 2010 final and Schiavone lost to China's Li Na in last year's title match at the world's lone clay-court major.
The 5-foot-4 Errani, who already owns three clay-court titles this season, beat a pair of former French Open champs in Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009) in the third and fourth round here, respectively.
Errani had never made it past the third round at any of her first 17 Grand Slam events before reaching the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open back in January.
The gritty Errani, who captured the 2012 French Open women's doubles title alongside fellow Italian Roberta Vinci on Friday, will appear in her ninth career WTA singles final (5-3) and fourth title match of 2012 (3-0). She authored wins in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest this season -- all on clay.
This year's first-time French Open champ will pocket $1.5 million.