That Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova fourth-round French Open matchup everyone has been waiting for? It’s not happening.
Williams announced Monday she will pull out of the tournament due to a pectoral injury that inhibits her serving, ending her quest for her fourth French Open title and 24th overall Grand Slam.
“I’m beyond disappointed,” Williams said Monday, per ESPN. “I gave up so much, from time with my daughter to time with my family. I put everything on the court. … So it’s really difficult to be in this situation.”
The French Open was Williams’ first Grand Slam tournament since returning from maternity leave. She hadn’t been quite as dominant as usual during her first three matches but had prevailed in each nonetheless, setting up a matchup with her “rival” Sharapova, who has not beaten her since 2004.
Williams will reportedly undergo an MRI on Tuesday, at which point we’ll have a better sense of how long she’s out. Wimbledon is only a month away, and it would be a bummer if she’s unable to take the court then.
Serena may not have been playing her best tennis so far this tournament, but you have to imagine the rest of the French Open field is breathing a sigh of relief this morning anyway. Williams’ absence (as well as upsets of top seeds including Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and others) leaves the French Open field wide open, with world No. 1 Simona Halep remaining the tournament’s favorite.
As for Sharapova, she sure seems to have lucked out, whether or not she would ever admit that. With Serena withdrawing, she dodges a player who has beaten her 18 consecutive times over 14 years and gets a free pass to the quarterfinals, where she will face the winner of Garbrine Muguruza and Lesia Tsurenko.