Sharapova ready for Paris showdown

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iol spt pic Maria Sharapova AP Maria Sharapova agrees that the French Open has shown that a new wave of women's tennis talent is on the rise, but at just 27 she says she has no intention of rolling over just yet. Photo: David Vincent

Paris - Maria Sharapova admits she faces a fight against what, at long last, looks like an emerging generation in women’s tennis. But she denies that is what will motivate her in Saturday’s French Open women’s final.

Nearly 10 years after she won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon the Russian, 27, is still competing against the best and, in this case, it is Romanian Simona Halep.

The challenger, playing her first Major final five years after a breast reduction operation, is spearheading a group which is clearly on the move. Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Spanish-Venezuelan Garbine Muguruza have shown in the last fortnight that the likes of Serena Williams, Sharapova and Li Na cannot rest easy for a minute. Sharapova agrees. ‘This tournament has showed that in the past two weeks,’ she said. ‘I got a chance to play two of them so far and both played at a very high level. It shows there are many good things to come from this generation.’

Sharapova (below) says she is not on a mission to halt their progress, just to further her own. ‘No matter if I’m a veteran or not, I’m not here to prove anything. I just want to take care of my business. Do I want to give them a chance to go further in the tournament? No.’

The Russian has shown the fighter she is by coming back from a set down in her last three matches. Halep has not dropped a set.

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