Injured Serena withdraws from French Open shortly before match against Sharapova

04 June 2018 - 15:43 By Reuters
Serena Williams of the US plays a forehand return to Germany's Julia Goerges during their women's singles third round match on day seven of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 2, 2018.
Serena Williams of the US plays a forehand return to Germany's Julia Goerges during their women's singles third round match on day seven of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 2, 2018.
Image: Thomas SAMSON / AFP

American Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open on Monday, shortly before she was due on court to face Maria Sharapova in a much-anticipated fourth round showdown.

The 36-year-old 23-times Grand Slam champion, making a comeback after maternity leave, told a news conference she had a pectoral muscle injury.

"Unfortunately I'm having some issues with my pec muscle. Right now I can't actually serve it's kind of hard to play," she said.

It has been almost 2-1/2 years since Williams and Sharapova last faced off across the net but when it comes to these two great on-court foes, absence does not make the heart grow fonder.

While Sharapova's quarter-final defeat by Williams at the 2016 Australian Open ended up being the last competitive match the Russian would play for 15 months after she was slapped with a doping ban, her American rival was on a maternity break for most of 2017.

Making her Grand Slam comeback in Paris following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia last September, Williams will renew her fierce on-court rivalry with Sharapova on Monday when they meet in a highly-anticipated fourth-round showdown at the French Open.


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