PARIS — As Maria Sharapova celebrated her return to the French Open final, she let loose one last scream — this one a happy holler.
American star Serena Williams won more quietly and quickly, and she’ll play the Russian for the title Saturday.
Sharapova, the defending champion, overcame 11 double-faults to win a semifinal shriekfest against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. Williams then advanced to her first French Open final since 2002 by dispatching Sara Errani of Italy 6-0, 6-1 in 46 minutes of astounding power and precision.
Williams’ win was the most lopsided women’s semifinal at Roland Garros since 1984, when Chris Evert beat Camille Benjamin 6-0, 6-0.
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Sharapova beat Errani in the final last year to complete a career Grand Slam, but she faces a tougher test this time. She’s 2-13 against Williams, who has been on a mission after more than a decade of disappointment in Paris.
“Obviously whatever I did in the past hasn’t worked,” Sharapova said. “So I’ll have to try to do something different, and hopefully it will.”
The top-ranked Williams, a 15-time Grand Slam champion, won her only Roland Garros title 11 years ago by beating her sister Venus in the final.
“I’m very happy to be back in the French Open final 11 years later,” Williams told the crowd in French. “I’m still here 11 years later. It’s so wonderful for me.”
Sharapova improved her record at Roland Garros to 43-9, best among active women. That includes victories in her past 13 French Open matches.
In the men’s semifinals Friday, seven-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain plays No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faces Spaniard David Ferrer.