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Errani continues dominant clay streak

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Originally published on: 07/05/12 00:00

All good things come to those who wait. Sara Errani made her senior debut 10 years ago, but, despite establishing herself as a regular on the Women’s Tennis Association tour, the 25-year-old Italian had begun this season with only two singles titles to her name and without ever having gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament.

However, a run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, where she eventually lost to Petra Kvitova, has triggered what Errani describes as an “amazing season”. Having won singles titles in Acapulco and Barcelona, she completed a third successive triumph on clay last week in Budapest, beating Chanelle Scheepers 4-6 6-2 6-3 to take her winning run on clay to 16 matches.

In addition Errani has won three doubles titles this year in partnership with Roberta Vinci. The Italian pair also lost in the finals in Melbourne and Miami. By winning the singles and doubles titles in Acapulco and Barcelona, Errani became the first woman to do a tournament double twice in the same year since Serena Williams won the singles and doubles at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009.

Until her success in Acapulco, which she describes as her favourite tournament, Errani had not won a singles title for four years. Although she has finished in the world’s top 100 ever year since 2007, her highest year-end position was No.42 in 2008. Her career appeared to have reached a plateau but, after her Budapest triumph, this week she climbed to a career-best No.24 in the world rankings.

Considering that clay is Errani’s favourite surface, it is surprising that the French Open has been her least productive Grand Slam tournament. In five visits to Roland Garros, her only win in either qualifying or the main draw came last year, when she beat Christina McHale 9-7 in the final set before losing 6-1, 6-2 in the second round to Daniela Hantuchova.

“I don't have any goals for Roland Garros,” Errani said as she looked ahead to this year’s tournament. “I just try to go week by week and try to achieve my best every tournament.”

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