Maria Sharapova reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking and gained a shot at a fourth Grand Slam title by advancing to the final of the French Open.
The Russian, seeded second, handily beat No. 4 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday. Sharapova bowed to Kvitova when they faced off in the Wimbledon final last year.
The 25-year-old Sharapova, who first reached the top of the world rankings at 18, will face 21st seed Sara Errani of Italy, who beat reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
The Italian, who made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year, is also in the final of the doubles tournament, playing with Roberta Vinci against Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in an Italy-Russia showdown.
In the men's semifinals Friday, No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces third seed Roger Federer of Switzerland, while Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal battles compatriot David Ferrer, ranked sixth.