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French Open 2018: Serena Williams pulls out due to pectoral injury; watch video of her press conference

379   //    04 Jun 2018, 20:00 IST

Roland Garros 2018 - Day 9
Serena Williams during her press conference at Roland Garros in Paris on Monday

What’s the story?

The much-awaited blockbuster showdown between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova couldn’t take place on Day 9 of the French Open 2018 due to Serena’s last-minute pull-out. A pectoral muscle injury prevented the 23-time Grand Slam champion from taking the court against her old rival on Monday.

The three-time French Open winner held a press conference to announce her decision, where she revealed that she was facing trouble during her serves.

In case you didn’t know

This would have been the first meeting between the two since their quarter-final clash at the 2016 Australian Open. Serena is unranked and unseeded at this tournament and is playing a Major for the first time since giving birth to her daughter in September.

This is Sharapova’s first outing at Roland Garros since making her return from a 15-month drug suspension.

The heart of the matter

Ever since the draw got announced, this was one duel everybody was looking forward to. Even though Serena has completely overwhelmed their rivalry, posting a 19-2 record, Sharapova did have chances to win this one.

The Russian had been gaining in form and confidence at the right time after reaching the quarter-finals in Madrid and the semi-finals in Rome.

Serena too was getting better and better with every match at the French Open 2018. In the third round, she put up her best performance of the year and made just 12 unforced errors against the 11th seeded Julia Georges.

However, the former World No. 1 had been having issues with her pectoral muscle even in that match. She later on played doubles alongside elder sister, Venus in an attempt to gauge the intensity of the injury.

Unfortunately, she understood that she was at less than 50% of her strength and that necessitated the withdrawal. The 36-year-old will remain at the French capital to undergo further tests.

Watch the video of her press conference here:

What’s next?

With Serena’s withdrawal, Sharapova gets through to the quarter-finals for the ninth time. The two-time champion will likely face the third seed and former champion Garbine Muguruza, a player she has beaten thrice.

Do you think Sharapova can reach the semi-finals? Have your say in the comments.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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