Serena Williams pulls out of French Open before Maria Sharapova match

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Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open with a pectoral muscle injury, minutes before she was expected to take the court to face Maria Sharapova in Monday’s fourth round.

“Right now I can’t actually serve,” Williams said, noting the injury has worsened since she first felt it in her last singles match Saturday. “It’s kind of hard to play when I can’t physically serve.”

Williams said she would get an MRI on Tuesday and “see as many specialists as I can” before determining whether she can play Wimbledon in four weeks.

It’s the second time Williams has withdrawn from singles play in 67 career Grand Slams after retiring during a 1998 Wimbledon third-round match with a calf injury. It’s her first time dealing with this kind of injury.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion won her first three singles matches (and played three doubles matches, including one Sunday) at her first Grand Slam since capturing the 2017 Australian Open title while eight weeks pregnant.

Williams came into Roland Garros having played four WTA Tour matches, all in March, since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1.

VIDEO: Williams calls Sharapova book ‘100 percent hearsay’

“I’m beyond disappointed,” she said. “I gave up so much from time with my daughter to time with my family. I put everything on the court, you know? All for this moment. So, it’s really difficult to be in this situation.”

Williams was favored against the two-time French Open champion Sharapova, whom Williams has beaten 18 straight times since 2005.

“It’s difficult because I love playing Maria,” Williams said. “It’s a match I always get up for. Her game matches so well against mine.”

Sharapova, seeded 28th at her first French Open since 2015, will play No. 3 Garbine Muguruza or Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals.

“I was looking forward to my match against Serena today and am disappointed that she had to withdraw,” Sharapova said in a statement. “I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon.”

Also Monday, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki fell to No. 14 Daria Kasatkina of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-3.

In the men’s fourth round, 10-time champ Rafael Nadal swept 70th-ranked German Maximilian Marterer 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4), coming back from having his serve broken to open the match.

French Open Quarterfinals
Women
(1) Simona Halep – (12) Angelique Kerber
(3) Garbine Muguruza – (28) Maria Sharapova 
Yulia Putintseva – (13) Madison Keys
(10) Sloane Stephens – (14) Daria Kasatkina

Men
(1) Rafael Nadal – (11) Diego Schwartzman
(3) Marin Cilic – (5) Juan Martin del Potro
Marco Cecchinato – (20) Novak Djokovic
(7) Dominic Thiem – (2) Alexander Zverev

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FRENCH OPEN: TV/Stream Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw (PDF) | Women’s Draw