The Latest: Williams sees Sharapova as favorite in 4th round
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French Open (all times local):
Even though Serena Williams has won her last 18 matches against Maria Sharapova, she still considers Sharapova the favorite for their eagerly anticipated fourth-round clash at the French Open.
Overall, Williams has won 19 of their 21 encounters, and has 23 Grand Slam titles to Sharapova's five.
Still, Williams is not reassured by the favorable statistics.
"Quite frankly, she's probably a favorite in this match, for sure," Williams said. "You know, she's been playing for over a year now. I just started. So, I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go."
Williams is competing in a major tournament for the first time in 16 months and since giving birth to a daughter in September.
The last time they played was at the 2016 Australian Open. That was Sharapova's final appearance before her 15-month doping ban for meldonium. The 31-year-old Russian returned to action in April 2017.
Ninth-seeded John Isner is the last American left in the French Open men's singles after eliminating the last Frenchman standing.
He beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (4), ending fading French hopes as the evening sun dimmed on Court No. 18.
Isner had 17 aces and saved the only break point he faced in a tight contest, breaking Herbert's serve just once in seven attempts.
It promises to be a hard-hitting match, with big serves and booming forehands, when Isner meets Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round.
They have played 10 times, with Del Potro leading 6-4 in their head-to-heads dating back to 2008.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber is through to the fourth round of the French Open after winning 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) against No. 18 Kiki Bertens.
The 12th-seeded German has reached finals at every Grand Slam tournament except the French Open. Her best performance at Roland Garros was a quarterfinal appearance in 2012.
She next plays seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia of France.
Mike Tyson looked on as Serena Williams produced a clinical performance to reach the French Open fourth round.
The former heavyweight world boxing champion was wearing a pink shirt and a blue cap from soccer club Paris Saint-Germain. The French champion plays its home matches at Parc des Princes stadium, which is a short walk from Roland Garros.
Tyson was chewing gum as Williams served out the match against 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany, winning 6-3, 6-4 to set up an exciting match against Maria Sharapova.
Serena Williams produced the best performance of her Grand Slam comeback to beat 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-4 and reach the French Open's fourth round.
Next up for Williams as she competes in a major tournament for the first time in 16 months — and since giving birth in September — will be a familiar foe: Maria Sharapova.
The 36-year-old Williams set up that showdown with a clean-hitting tour de force against Goerges.
Williams made only three unforced errors in the opening set, 12 in all. She won 12 consecutive points on her serve in one stretch.
The most-anticipated matchup for a quarterfinal spot at Roland Garros pits 23-time major champion Williams against five-time major champion Sharapova. The head-to-head history is overwhelmingly in Williams' favor: She has won 19 of 21 meetings, including 18 in a row.
Juan Martin Ddl Potro has eased into the fourth round of the French Open by beating No. 31 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.
The fifth-seeded Argentine is looking in strong form as he eyes a potential semifinal showdown with Rafael Nadal.
Del Potro had eight aces and broke his Spanish opponent's serve six times on Court Philippe Chatrier, taking just 29 minutes to win the third set.
Del Potro next plays either ninth-seeded American John Isner or unseeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The big-serving Isner has won the first set 7-6 (1).
Serena Williams has won the first set 6-3 against 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany in their third-round match at the French Open.
In warm evening sunshine on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Williams clenched her fist after breaking for a 3-1 lead to take control.
She clinched the set with a smash at the net.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion remains on course to meet five-time major winner Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal gave a French Open ball boy a memory to last a lifetime.
After finishing off his lopsided victory over Richard Gasquet in the third round at the tournament's main stadium, Nadal was asked by the courtside interviewer, 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, whether he would hit some shots with a big fan of his.
So Nadal lent a racket to the ball boy and they engaged in a couple of lengthy baseline rallies, drawing appreciative roars from spectators.
Afterward, the two met up at the net, and Nadal mussed the kid's hair.
Simona Halep has advanced to the fourth round of the French Open for the third straight year, beating Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-5, 6-0.
The top-seeded Romanian has never lost to Petkovic, and four of her seven wins have been on clay. Petkovic needed treatment to her right leg and had it bandaged above and below the knee.
Halep has twice lost in the final at Roland Garros, including last year. She next plays 16th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium.
Mertens won 6-3, 6-1 against No. 24 Daria Gavrilova.
Marin Cilic has moved into the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the 20th time, eliminating Steve Johnson of the U.S. 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at the French Open.
Cilic won all 14 of his service games, broke Johnson four times and built a 35-14 edge in total winners.
The No. 3-seeded Croat won the 2014 U.S. Open and has reached the final at two of the past three majors — Wimbledon last year and the Australian Open in January. He will face No. 18 Fabio Fognini next.
Johnson, ranked 46th, has never been to the round of 16 at Roland Garros.
David Goffin saved four match points, holding his nerve against a partisan French crowd, in beating Gael Monfils of France 6-7 (6), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 for a place in the fourth round.
From being on the precipice of defeat when serving at 4-5 in the fourth set, the eighth-seeded Belgian then profited when Monfils lost his cool.
He broke the 32nd-seeded Frenchman after Monfils became irritated with the umpire for warning that he was taking too much time between points.
Monfils was still complaining at the next changeover.
"You know me, you know my temper," he said to the umpire.
Goffin then held serve to love to level at two sets apiece.
Monfils appeared to be on his last legs, hunched over, sweat dripping off his nose, in the deciding set.
But he summoned the energy to break Goffin when he was serving for the match at 5-2.
Monfils' fightback stopped there.
Goffin set up match point with a crunching backhand return on Monfils' second serve and won when Monfils then hit a forehand long.
The match started Friday but was cut short because of rain.
Goffin next plays Marco Cecchinato of Italy.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has advanced to the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win against Richard Gasquet, improving to 16-0 against the Frenchman.
The 27th-seeded Gasquet trailed 5-0 in the first set before winning the next three games and moving 30-0 ahead on Nadal's serve.
It was only a brief rally, as Nadal responded in his usual clinical way.
He streaked ahead 4-0 in the second set and did the same in the third before Gasquet finally held serve after a long fifth game. After earning applause from Nadal following a superb cushioned drop shot at the net, he ended that game with an ace.
Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Gasquet chopped a backhand long. He has now failed to even take a set off Nadal in 11 straight matches.
The top-ranked Spaniard is chasing a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros. He next faces unseeded German Maximilian Marterer in their first career meeting.
Mischa Zverev couldn't keep up with younger brother Alexander at the French Open, ending their bid to become the first siblings in 27 years to reach the fourth round at the same Grand Slam tournament.
The 64th-ranked Mischa lost in the third round to 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Anderson won all 21 of his service games and compiled a 56-19 advantage in winners, including 18 aces. He broke Mischa three times.
The Zverevs could have been just the third pair of brothers to reach the round of 16 at the same major in the 50-year Open era. Gene and Sandy Mayer did it at Wimbledon in 1979, and Emilio and Javier Sanchez followed suit at the 1991 U.S. Open.
Alexander, who is seeded No. 2 at Roland Garros, won his third-round match Friday.
Anderson is into the fourth round in Paris for the fourth time; he's never made it past that stage. He'll next face No. 11 seed Diego Schwartzman, a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 winner against Borna Coric.
Fabio Fognini is through to the French Open fourth round, giving Italy two players among the last 16 men for the first time since 1976.
Fognini, sporting an eye-catching red T-shirt with black thunderbolts on the front and back, beat 16th-seeded Briton Kyle Edmund 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The 18th-seeded Fognini hadn't reached the fourth round since 2011, when he lost in the quarterfinals.
The other Italian in the fourth round is Marco Cecchinato.
Maria Sharapova easily handled the big serve of No. 6-seeded Karolina Pliskova and overwhelmed her 6-2, 6-1 to move closer to a possible French Open showdown against Serena Williams.
Sharapova has won two of her five Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and is now into the fourth round for the 12th time in 14 appearances at the clay-court major.
The 31-year-old Russian, who is seeded 28th after missing the French Open the last two years, will next play the winner of the third-rounder between 23-time major champion Williams and 11th-seeded Julia Goerges. Williams has won 19 of 21 head-to-head matchups against Sharapova, including the last 18 in a row.
Against Pliskova, Sharapova held an 18-5 edge in winners and broke the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up in five of her seven service games. Pliskova has led the WTA in aces the past three seasons — and is No. 2 in that category this year — but managed only one Saturday.
The match lasted just 59 minutes.
Sloane Stephens is through to the fourth round of the French Open for a fifth time in her seven visits to Roland Garros.
The 10th-seeded American beat Camila Giorgi of Italy 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 on Saturday.
Stephens, the U.S. Open champion in 2017, plays Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round.
The 25th-seeded Estonian advanced by beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).
Stephens failed to reach round four at Roland Garros in 2011, when she lost in the first round at her first French Open, and in 2016, when she lost in the third round.
Unseeded Karen Khachanov of Russia has reached the French Open's round of 16 for the second consecutive year, eliminating 15th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in the resumption of a suspended match.
They were tied 1-1 in the third set when play was stopped because of rain the night before.
The 38th-ranked Khachanov has made it to the fourth round both times he played at Roland Garros, his best showing at any Grand Slam tournament.
He will try to reach a major quarterfinal for the first time, facing No. 2-seeded Alexander Zverev next.
Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain has crushed Samantha Stosur 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the fourth round of the French Open.
The 2016 champion at Roland Garros lost her serve just once to the Australian, who won the 2011 US Open and made the semifinals in Roland Garros in 2016, 2012 and 2009.
Muguruza faced no break points in winning the first set in 26 minutes.
Facing three break points in the fourth game of the second set, she served a double fault, allowing Stosur to level at 2-2. But she then rattled off the next four games for the match.
Muguruza faces 39th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine in the fourth round.
Play has begun under puffy clouds on Day 7 of the French Open, with No. 3-seeded Garbine Muguruza on Court Philippe Chatrier seeking a fourth-round berth against Samantha Stosur of Australia.
The 2016 French Open champion cruised to a 6-0 first-set win over the 90th-ranked Stosur.
Rafael Nadal is up later on Chatrier, targeting a 16th consecutive win against childhood friend Richard Gasquet, as the Spaniard continues his quest for a record-extending 11th title on Roland Garros' red clay.
Serena Williams faces her toughest test yet in her return to Grand Slam tennis after giving birth, against 11th-seeded Julia Goerges. They are scheduled for the afternoon on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Other notable matches include Maria Sharapova vs. Karolina Pliskova, the third match on Chatrier, and top-seeded Simona Halep vs. Andrea Petkovic of Germany, out on the new Court 18.