Serena pulls out of French Open clash against Sharapova due to injury
PARIS, June 4: Rafael Nadal moved a step closer to an incredible 11th French Open title on Monday by seeing off German Maximilian Marterer in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals.
The world number one’s 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory over the world number 70 saw him equal the record of 12 last-eight appearances at Roland Garros, which was set by Novak Djokovic the day before.
It is the 35th time the Spaniard, who turned 32 on Sunday, has made the quarters of a Grand Slam tournament.
Nadal will face Argentinian Diego Schwartzman for a semi-final spot, after the 11th seed staged a thrilling comeback to down sixth seed Kevin Anderson 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/0), 6-2.
Top seed Nadal is now on his own in third on the all-time list for most match wins at Grand Slam events with 234 victories.
Most players are reluctant to admit they get shaky on court but not Simona Halep who embraces the nervous energy and is ready to feel all the emotion as she progresses at the French Open.
The world number one has played three Grand Slam finals and lost them all, including two at Roland Garros, and rare are the times when she does not open up about her early match jitters.
On Monday, she blazed into the quarter-finals by crushing Belgian Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-1 as she showed her full range of weapons.
The 26-year-old Romanian started slowly but once she found her groove, there was nothing the 16th seed could do to avoid a one-sided defeat.
Saved by fading light the night before, there was no escape for world number two Caroline Wozniacki on Monday as Russian Daria Kasatkina completed a 7-6(5) 6-3 victory to reach the fourth round of the French Open.
Kasatkina, the 14th seed, had played beautifully to lead 7-6 3-3 on Sunday when play was called off but any hopes Australian Open champion Wozniacki harboured that her 21-year-old opponent’s level would dip on the resumption proved fanciful.
It was all over in a matter of minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier as Kasatkina rattled off the three games she needed to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Having disposed of one reigning Grand Slam champion, Kasatkina, who has dropped just one set so far, will next face another in U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens.
Dane Wozniacki’s wait to make a real impression on the Parisian competition goes on despite arriving with high hopes and dropping only 11 games in her first three rounds.
Argentinian Diego Schwartzman staged a thrilling comeback from two sets down to stun sixth seed Kevin Anderson and reach the French Open quarter-finals for the first time on Monday.
The 11th seed was totally outplayed in the first two sets, but twice broke Anderson when the South African was serving for the match en route to a 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/0), 6-2 victory.
The 25-year-old, who also reached the quarter-finals at last year’s US Open, will face either 10-time champion Rafael Nadal or German Maximilian Marterer for a last-four place.
Serena Williams pulls out
Serena Williams pulled out of her French Open fourth round encounter against Maria Sharapova due to an arm injury on Monday. The 36-year-old said she had suffered a pectoral muscle injury in her third-round win over Julia Goerges and “can’t serve at all”.
“Unfortunately I’m having some issues with my pec muscle. Right now I can’t actually serve it’s kind of hard to play,” she told the reporters.
“I’m having an MRI (scan) tomorrow, I’m going to stay here to see the doctors and see as many specialists as I can. I won’t know (how serious the injury is) until I get those results.”
Williams had worked hard to get back in shape and was making her Grand Slam comeback at the French Open following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia last September.
“Physically I’m doing great. It hasn’t been easy. I sacrificed so much to be at this event. I’m going to continue to get better. I had such a wonderful performance in my first Grand Slam back,” she added.
She was unable to say whether or not she would be fit for Wimbledon which gets underway in four weeks’ time.
Serena Williams defeated Goerges 6-3, 6-4 in the third round to set up a clash against Sharapova who made short work of Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1.
Williams, the champion in 2002, 2013 and 2015 and playing her first Slam since giving birth to her daughter in September, last took part a major at the Australian Open in 2017.
Sharapova and Williams have met 21 times, with the American leading the head-to-head record 19-2 after 18 consecutive wins. Sharapova has not defeated her fellow former world number one since 2004 — a streak of 18 matches – the same year when he burst into the world tennis scene. (AFP)