A small, unheralded Italian and a very tall, very famous Russian made it through to the final of the French Open here at Roland Garros.
For Sara Errani -- who defeated reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 -- it was a dream beyond dreams. But for Maria Sharapova, the crushing 6-3, 6-3 victory against reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova took her just one step closer to the final card in the pack, the only Grand Slam title she has yet to win.
Even the dizzy heights of No. 1 in the world will not be new to Sharapova, because she has been there before, back in August 2005. But this victory has ensured she will oust Victoria Azarenka from the top spot next week.
Sharapova and Errani are both 25 years old, but their professional lives to this point have trodden such different paths that they might have been playing on different planets. Sharapova's storied career, with a Wimbledon title at 17 and the riches that followed -- reputed to be $25 million a year now -...