Serena Williams sets up French Open date with old foe Maria Sharapova

The catsuit may have won the headlines, revealing the physical work the 36-year-old Williams has done on her grueling comeback road. Williams is working her way through Roland Garros as an unseeded player, a combination of discretionary decision-making and antiquated thinking by tournament officials leaving her off the top of the bracket as she makes her return after having a baby. I think this will be another test.

Sharapova advanced Saturday with a similarly lopsided win hours earlier, beating 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1.

Sharapova has only played Pliskova once before, winning in the 2015 Fed Cup final in straight sets, although the Czech Republic went on to lift the trophy. Venus Williams already lost in the first round.

Serena leads her head-to-head record with Sharapova 19-2, with the Russian´s last win coming at the 2004 WTA Tour Championships - before even the birth of Twitter and YouTube. "But the only difference is I'm actually getting in extra match play, and I'm really lacking match play". Of course, it also helps that Serena is playing doubles with her sister Venus, which gives her extra reps to get her feet wet and gain that comfortable feeling again.

It has been nearly 2-1/2 years since Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova last faced off across the net but when it comes to these two great on-court foes, absence does not make the heart grow fonder.

A lot of things in her game that she's done much better than I have.

The letter was published during Sharapova's doping ban. However, if they have one shared interest it is their edgy relationship with the media and, in recent months, they have launched their own approved responses: Sharapova in a documentary put out by her agent IMG as well as a sugary book Unstoppable: My Life So Far; and Williams in a five-part documentary being shown on Eurosport. Their plight became a documentary called "Quantum Hoops", with the tagline "before they change the world, they need to win one game".

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"And then the book was a lot about me! I just started", Williams said. “I was, like, ‘Oh, OK, I didnt expect to be reading a book about me — that wasnt necessarily true.”. She is ranked No. 451 by the Women's Tennis Association. The episode began with a snippet of a magazine article in which the author surmised that something critical Williams said during a telephone conversation was a reference to Sharapova.

In the men's event, Rafael Nadal swept into the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over France's Richard Gasquet.

The story of Day 7, though, was what everyone can look forward to on Day 9: Williams vs. Sharapova. The first of Garcia's wins, in their only previous clay encounter at Madrid 2014, came via retirement; and the Frenchwoman scored her first complete defeat of Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of Wuhan past year.

Williams, a three-time singles champion in Paris, will face Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the second round on Thursday as she continues her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title.

Against Goerges, the careless errors were largely absent. The missing energy was back, and how. In front of a crowd that included former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, it took 15 minutes for Williams to gain the upper hand, sprinting to reach a drop shot and whip a cross-court forehand passing victor for a 3-1 lead. She punctuated it with a grunt and a fist pump. "She's never forgiven me for it".

"I knew it was my match to win", the 31-year-old said.


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