Serena Williams stirs up rivalry before Maria Sharapova duel

American saw off Julia Goerges to set up a meeting with old nemesis at Roland Garros

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates victory during the ladies singles third round match against Julia Georges of Germany at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates victory during the ladies singles third round match against Julia Georges of Germany at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

 

Serena Williams wasted little time ramping up her rivalry with Maria Sharapova after setting up a French Open fourth-round meeting with her old foe.

The pair will face each other for the first time since the quarter-final of the 2016 Australian Open, which was Sharapova’s last match before a 15-month doping ban.

Sharapova has won just two of their 21 meetings, including the 2004 Wimbledon final which she covered in some detail in her autobiography released last year.

In it the Russian described how she heard Williams sobbing loudly in the locker room afterwards, and claimed that defeat was the reason behind the American’s dominant record over her since.

Williams hit back shortly after completing a 6-3 6-4 third-round win over Julia Goerges.

She said: “I think the book was 100 per cent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing.

“One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.

“I wanted to read the book and I was really excited for it to come out and I was really happy for her.

“And then the book was a lot about me! I was surprised about that, to be honest. I didn’t expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn’t necessarily true.

“So I was like, ‘this is really interesting’. I didn’t know she looked up to me that much or was so involved in my career.”

Williams is playing her first grand slam since giving birth to her daughter in September.

“It’s been different,” she added. “We are both on a comeback — for two totally different reasons — and she’s been on her journey for over a year and I just started mine a couple months ago.”

Sharapova had earlier dropped just three games as she knocked out the sixth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova.

Asked about a showdown with Williams, she said: “It’s been a while, and I think a lot has happened in our lives for the both of us in very different ways.

“I have spoken about that chapter for a long time now, and to be able to put myself back in these positions and to not shy away from these moments, to come out on centre court and want the challenge of moving forward and to be able to face Serena, I think that speaks for itself.”

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

The Spaniard, winner in 2016 and seeded third, took just 62 minutes to see off Stosur, the 2011 US Open champ, 6-0 6-2.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova was a third-round casualty, the eighth seed going down in two tie-breaks to Anett Kontaveit.

Top seed Simona Halep came through 7-5 6-0 against Andrea Petkovic and Caroline Garcia, the seventh seed, beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-3.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.