Serena sets up Sharapova blockbuster at French Open

Serena Williams celebrates winning a point

Returning three-time champion Serena Williams set up a highly-anticipated French Open last-16 match against long-time rival Maria Sharapova by beating Germany's Julia Gorges.

The 36-year-old American, a three times a victor in Paris, swept aside the German 11th seed 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes and will now face Sharapova in a much-anticipated fourth-round clash on Monday.

She had some problems in her initial two outings in Paris, including in the second round, when she dropped the first set against 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty before - as Williams herself put it - "Serena came out".

Plus, against 31-year-old Sharapova, Williams has won 19 of their 21 total matchups, including 18 consecutive victories.

"I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that's what I have seen a lot of people do".

"I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best player", the five-time grand slam victor said.

"Everything that we have been able to achieve off the court, I have never really seen it as a competition", she said.

Tsurenko has now reached the last 16 in Paris for the first time, equalling her best run at a Slam at the 2016 US Open.

Just seven matches into her comeback following a maternity break, Williams ranked 451st impressed all those watching on the 10,000-seater Suzanne Lenglen Court - including former boxing champion Mike Tyson - by pulverizing her opponent.

Welcome to Williams-Sharapova, 2018.

In fact, she's relishing the prospect of finally being able to get one over on the American.

Serena Williams plays Maria Sharapova on Monday for a place in the women's singles quarterfinals.




She also wrote: "I heard that Serena told a friend, who then told me, 'I will never lose to that little [rhymes-with-witch] again'".

"The book was a lot about me".

"I think there is a lot of things in her game that she's done much better than I have ... numbers don't lie".

"Any time you play against Serena, you know what you're up against".

Sharapova had struggled on serve in her opening wins over Richel Hogenkamp and Donna Vekic, and she was broken in the very first game of the match.

Williams has won their last 18 meetings, with Sharapova's only two victories coming in 2004.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is now many pundits' favourites for the title after dismantling Sam Stosur.

"I will look forward to doing that if she wins this one".

The five-time major champion and former World No.1 was emphatic over the course of 59 minutes in her return to Court Philippe Chatrier, where she had previously raised the trophy in 2012 and 2014.

But because no match-up in a women's field packed with potential Grand Slam winners provides the "edge" that is so apparent whenever the two spiky old warriors face each other across a tennis net.

The Spanish third seed, who won the title in 2016, will take on Lesia Tsurenko for a place in the quarter-finals after the Ukrainian came through a 6-2, 6-4 victor over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.

"I knew this would be very tough against a former US Open victor and a player who has made the final here", said 24-year-old Muguruza. But she showed off some nimbleness to claim an early advantage.

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