Errani, bidding to become the lowest seed at 21 to win the title in the professional era, was in danger of suffering a whitewash when Sharapova sprinted to a 4-0 lead within 15 minutes.
But just when the fans thought they were about to witness the first whitewash since Steffi Graf beat Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in the 1988 final, Errani started to produce the kind of shots that helped her to knock out three grand slam champions here.
She raised a huge roar in the stands when she broke Sharapova in the fifth game and then caught out the Russian with some cute angled volleys and delectable dropshots.
Errani also dragged Sharapova into rallys often extending to over 20 shots, and the Italian even managed to dodge two set points on her serve in the eighth game.
Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia, left, holds the trophy after winning the women's final match against Sara Errani of Italy, right, at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday June 9, 2012.