PARIS (AFP) - Serena Williams won her second French Open title on Saturday, 11 years after her first triumph, defeating title-holder Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in a high-quality final.
It was the 31-year-old American's 16th Grand Slam title win, taking her to within two of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova who are tied for fourth on the all-time list.
And it underscored her near total domination of the women's game, having won three of the last four Grand Slam titles - at Wimbledon, the US and French Opens - and reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
For Sharapova it was a 10th straight loss to Williams, dating back to 2004 when she defeated her in the Wimbledon final and the WTA Championships when she was just 17-years-old.
"It was very difficult today. After 11 years (since last win) and now I have 16 (Grand Slam titles)," said Williams, addressing the crowd in French.
"But I want to come back next year because I adore Paris and I adore the public here. I want to win here again."
Sharapova said: "I played a great tournament, but ran into a really tough opponent today. She has been playing so well this year and the whole of last year as well.
"But this court has brought me so many nice memories. Last year was so incredible to win and to be back as one of the last two players was great."
In what was the first French Open women's final involving the two top seeds since 1995, the two biggest names and biggest earners in women's sport were pitted against each other for the 16th time, the third in a Grand Slam final.
Williams was the strong favourite, having won 13 times for two defeats against the Russian and stormed into the final for the loss of just one set, taking her career-best winning streak to 31.
Sharapova though was on a 13-match win run at Roland Garros, having finally come to terms with the demands of claycourt tennis last year when she defeated Sara Errani in the final.