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Will Maria Sharapova claim the French tennis open title?

It's a sign of the truly exceptional tennis player when they can win on all surfaces. The all-time greats are those who have won the Grand Slam tournaments in England, the US, France and Australia. Maria Sharapova has 3 titles, but the French tennis Open title has so far eluded her.

2011 has seen Sharapova return to the forefront of women's tennis, and rediscover the indomitable competitive spirit that brought her to the forefront in 2004.  2012 will see a concerted attempt to reclaim her world number one ranking. A Grand Slam victory on the clay courts of Roland Garros would offer confirmation that Sharapova, at 24, has regained the heights of her precocious teenage years, and fulfilled her potential.

Her Grand Slam titles were won in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Mathematical logic suggested she should have won another in 2010 but injury spoilt the symmetry. Much of 2009 and 2010 were  punctuated by continued injury problems and the steady attempts to regain some of her best form.

The 2012 French Open (www.rolandgarros.com) tournament begins on May 27 with the women's final on June 9. Sharapova appears to have the best credentials to move ahead of the pack of players looking to dominate.

The French tennis Open had a surprise winner in 2011, when Li Na of China triumphed. Li Na is not widely expected to retain her title, and Sharapova's challengers are likley to come from a cluster of players including Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva.

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