Serena Williams to face Maria Sharapova at French Open

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova meeting in the second week of a grand slam wouldn't have come as a surprise a few...

Posted: Jun 4, 2018 1:42 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2018 1:42 PM

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova meeting in the second week of a grand slam wouldn't have come as a surprise a few years ago.

But when the world-famous duo landed in the same quarter of the draw at this year's French Open, there was no guarantee they would clash in the fourth round.

Williams defeats 11th seed Julia Goerges 6-3 6-4

Sharapova thumped Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-1

Williams slams Sharapova's book

Rafael Nadal wins 34th straight set at French Open

Williams was playing her first grand slam in 16 months and only her third tournament of 2018 after giving birth to daughter Olympia in September, while Sharapova dealt with an arm injury this year and still sought top form after returning from a drug suspension in April 2017.

Yet the pair will face off indeed for the 22nd time after both won Saturday at Roland Garros.

"We are both on a comeback for two totally different reasons, and she's been on her journey for over a year and I just started mine a couple months ago," said Williams. "So it's just something new and different."

Struggling somewhat in the opening two rounds, both put in their best performances of the fortnight on a sunny, warm day in Paris that was a complete contrast to Friday's wet, heavy conditions.

On paper, anyway, they were upset victories.

Williams -- her ranking down to 451st due to a lack of matches since winning the 2017 Australian Open in the early stages of pregnancy -- defeated 11th-seed Julia Goerges 6-3 6-4 Saturday evening.

The 23-time grand slam champ faced a mere one break point and tallied 85% of her first-serve points.

"I feel like every match I play I'm getting better and I'm playing tougher opponents and I'm hanging in there, and I feel like it's going to hopefully keep going," said Williams.

Sharapova thumped sixth-seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-1 in the afternoon, winning nearly 60% of her return points versus last year's women's ace leader and Roland Garros semifinalist.

Monday, though, comes the hard part for 28th-seed Sharapova, no doubt the toughest challenge of her career -- trying to beat Williams.

Lopsided record

Sharapova trails the series 19-2 and last overcame the American in 2004.

Sixteen straight sets have gone against her, including in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Australian Open, Sharapova's last match prior to serving the ban for taking meldonium.

"I think any time you play against Serena you know what you're up against," the five-time grand slam winner told reporters. "You know the challenge that is upon you.

"Despite the record that I have against her, I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best player."

They wouldn't be considered pals but Sharapova admitted to being "inspired" by her on-court tormentor. Their path to stardom from humble beginnings is also inspiring, according to Sharapova.

Born in Siberia, Russia, Sharapova moved to the US aged six to chase her tennis dream. Williams and older sister Venus grew up in Compton in the 1980s at a time when gang warfare was not uncommon in the Los Angeles suburb.

Williams, however, wasn't inspired by Sharapova's autobiography, 'Unstoppable: My Life So Far,' published last year.

'Hearsay book'

In the book, Sharapova said Williams was devastated after losing their final at Wimbledon in 2004, a win that truly put the Russian on the tennis map. She described hearing "guttural sobs" in the locker room.

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon," wrote Sharapova.

And, hypothesized Sharapova, it's the reason why Williams wracked up that 19-2 record against her. But Williams hit back.

"I think the book was 100% hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing," said Williams. "I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that's what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it's normal. I think if anything, it shows the passion and the desire and the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.

"I think what happens there should definitely maybe stay there, and not necessarily talk about it in a not so positive way in a book," added Williams.

Williams, though, said she harbored no "negative feelings" towards Sharapova.

Twice Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova joined her Czech Fed Cup teammate Pliskova on the sidelines, losing to Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) in a match originally scheduled for Friday.

Kvitova entered the French Open as a contender after winning clay titles in Prague and Madrid and holding a 13-match winning streak. A year ago in Paris, she made her return to tennis after being attacked in her home and suffering nerve damage to her left, playing hand.

The 25th-seeded Kontaveit had a fruitful clay swing -- beating Venus Williams twice -- herself and a breakthrough win at a grand slam had been coming after several near misses.

"Of course, I'm pretty sad, but, on the other hand, I'm very happy about everything in the life," said Kvitova.

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, achieved yet another milestone on clay.

When the Spaniard again crushed France's Richard Gasquet, 6-3 6-2 6-2 -- he is now 16-0 against his friend -- he claimed a 34th straight set at Roland Garros to eclipse his previous best of 32.

Nadal is now not far behind Bjorn Borg's record of 41 set from 1979-81.

German next for Nadal

He will be expected to win in straight sets again Monday when he takes on the rising, but little known, German Maximilian Marterer. The two other highest seeds in Nadal's half, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro, didn't conceded a set, either, in dispatching Steve Johnson and Albert Ramos Vinolas, respectively.

Gasquet was one of four French men to depart, leaving none in the round of 16 for the first time since 2007. Gael Monfils -- ill all week -- squandered four match points against Belgium's David Goffin in his 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 4-6 7-5 6-3 reverse.

READ: Who can stop Nadal?

Camila Giorgi twice couldn't serve out proceedings against US Open winner Sloane Stephens, with the American advancing 4-6 6-1 8-6.

Based on the first three rounds, 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza might be the player to beat in the women's draw. A Spanish double in the final weekend, perhaps?

Having downed fellow French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opener, Muguruza eased past former finalist Sam Stosur 6-0 6-2.

Simona Halep, like Kvitova, was pushed back to Saturday because of the rain. The world No. 1 topped Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-0 in a repeat of their 2014 semifinal.

Visit CNN.com/tennis for more news, features and videos

Halep went on to lose a thrilling final to Sharapova and is still bidding for a first major, coming close again 12 months ago and at January's Australian Open. Petkovic has fallen on harder times -- ranked 107th -- and the philosophical German admitted to almost quitting the game.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 113195

Reported Deaths: 4923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook738193354
Lake7767250
DuPage7290340
Kane5866153
Will5238258
Winnebago199351
McHenry145268
St. Clair101773
Kankakee80242
Kendall72719
Rock Island63922
Champaign5697
Madison54056
Boone40716
Sangamon33226
DeKalb3313
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21210
Stephenson1952
Ogle1922
Macon18819
Peoria1858
Clinton17816
Out of IL1771
Union1417
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13310
Iroquois1314
Unassigned1200
Coles1159
Warren1140
Jefferson10116
Knox950
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee761
Tazewell683
Cass670
Henry670
Williamson541
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin421
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess270
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Mercer150
Carroll132
Franklin120
Piatt120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Schuyler100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 65°
Casey
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Brazil
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
No Major Changes
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events