Relaxed Serena Williams on playing Maria Sharapova: 'I have nothing to lose'

Clyde Nash
June 4, 2018

"This time previous year I was pregnant and I was having a tough time and then I had a tough birth so every match at this stage of my return is a bonus", Williams, who suffered multiple complications following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia, said courtside.

Maybe the end of Williams's road will come Monday afternoon, when she faces longtime foe and five-time Grand Slam victor Maria Sharapova in a fourth-round match as intriguing as tennis fans could hope for.

Serena Williams produced the best performance of her Grand Slam comeback to beat 11th-seeded Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the fourth round of the French Open.

Williams beat 17-seed Ashleigh Barty in the round of 64 on Thursday and defeated Kristyna Pliskova in the round of 128 on Tuesday at Rolad Garros. The head-to-head history is overwhelmingly in Williams' favor: She has won 19 of 21 meetings, including 18 in a row. "I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss", Williams said. And she's playing really well, and I think this is really her best surface, so we'll see. I just started. I'm trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.

Williams, who is unseeded in the French Open and ranked 451st in the world, said she had bore no ill will toward Sharapova, the 28th seed and 30th-ranked player in the world.

Sharapova has lost their last seven meetings in straight sets and has managed to take only three sets off the 36-year-old in those 18 straight defeats.

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Serena Williams of the USA reacts during her quarter-final match against Russia's Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 26, 2016.

Russian doubles star Alla Kudryavtseva said she hoped Williams's revolutionary black outfit leads to a rethink over the playing regulations.

"If you add all the things that we're able to do in our lives, and the amounts of people that we're able to inspire from our stories, from our background, where we came from, kind of what we have been able to do outside the sport, in our own ways, I think (it's) very inspiring".

"I feel like every match I play I'm getting better".

Kvitova, who entered the third round contest an a 13-match winning run, fell short in both tie-breaks as Kontaveit booked her place in the fourth round 7-6, 7-6.

Sharapova has beaten Williams just twice, both times in 2004.

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In the first set, The American broke to lead 3-1 thanks to a cross-court victor going on to wrap up the opening set 6-3.

"I don't think you're ever going to hear nice words from him about me", said Sharapova.

Garbine Muguruza is also safely through to the fourth round after destroying Australia's Sam Stosur 6-0, 6-2 in one and three minutes.

Sharapova quickly dispatched of Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1 in her round of 32 matchup Saturday on Court Philippe Chatrier.

She next plays seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia of France, who cruised past Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 6-3, earlier in the day.

Not to be outdone, Serena opened the doors to HBO for a four-part mini-series, "Being Serena", focusing on her homelife and return to action after the birth of daughter Olympia.

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