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Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Roland Garros | French Open Tennis • And The Sharapova Match

Serena Williams of the USA gives a press conference after pulling out of her match against Maria Sharapova during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 04 June 2018. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

 

 

By: Thomas Cluck • For 10sBalls

 

A rare pectoral injury for Serena Williams has forced the 23-time major winner out of the French Open and the highly-anticipated fourth-round matchup against rival Maria Sharapova. Calling a press conference just minutes before the blockbuster match would have taken Court Philippe Chatrier, Williams announced her withdrawal and elaborated on the pectoral injury she sustained this week in Paris.

 

“I unfortunately have been having some issues with my pec, my pec muscle, and has unfortunately been getting worse to the point where right now I can’t actually serve. It’s kind of hard to play when I can’t physically serve,” explained the three-time champion at Roland Garros.

 

Williams was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since giving birth to her first child in September, and just her third competitive tournament in 2018 after early losses in Indian Wells and Miami.

 

Playing her first major since winning the 2017 Australian Open, the 36 year-old looked to be shaping into form as she played her way into the tournament, but an injury to her pec during her third-round singles match began to hurt her chances.

 

“The first time I felt it was against [Julia] Goerges in my last match. That’s when I started to feel it. I was, like, it was really painful and I didn’t know what it was,” said Williams in her press conference.

 

After the straight-sets win over Goerges on Saturday, Williams took to the doubles court with sister Venus, but fell in bizarre fashion to the team of Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Andreja Klepac, dropping the third set 6-0. Serena looked to be struggling physically with her serving during the deciding set in doubles yesterday.

 

“In my doubles yesterday I tried a lot of different tapings, and I tried lots of different types of support to see how it would feel under match circumstance. It didn’t really get a lot better.”

 

Williams was due to play two-time French Open champion Sharapova in her fourth round match, a blockbuster match that despite the American’s dominant 19-2 head-to-head is one of the premier rivalries in tennis.

 

“Yeah, it’s very difficult, because I love playing Maria. You know, it’s just a match I always get up for. You know, it’s just her game matches so well against mine,” commented the 23-time major champion.

 

In this French Open, the unseeded Williams looked the best she had her entire comeback, fighting through difficult matches against Kristyna Pliskova and 17th seed Ashleigh Barty to play her way into the tournament before impressing in the comprehensive victory over 11th-seeded Goerges, a top WTA player.

 

Serena was also looking good in the doubles as she won two matches alongside her sister, including a high-quality, hard-fought win over former doubles champion Sara Errani and Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens in the second round. However the doubles play while still coming back from a difficult pregnancy at age 36 may have also taken a toll on the health of Williams, playing just her third tournament in 2018 and first in three months.

 

While it will be disappointing for Williams having to pull out of a Grand Slam event and in doing so giving a walkover to her rival Sharapova, signs are encouraging for the 23-time major winner as she looked to be rounding into title-contending form, with her best surface, grass coming up.

 

The extent of Williams’ pectoral injury is unknown, however she’ll be hoping it is healthy in less than a months’ time for Wimbledon at the start of July.

 

“I’m going to get an MRI tomorrow. I’m going to stay here and see some of the doctors here, see as many specialists as I can. And I won’t know that until I get those results.”

 

In the French Open quarterfinals, Sharapova will now face either 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza or Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.

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