Serena Williams withdraws from French Open due to muscle injury

Tennis rivals Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will face off at the French Open

Williams has played only a handful of matches since returning from maternity leave this year, but the three-times Roland Garros champion had looked sharp in her hunt for a 24th Grand Slam title.

"I unfortunately have been having some issue with my pec muscle", the tournament's press office quoted Williams as saying. Williams told reporters at a news conference that she had suffered an injury and was unable to play. Williams has withdrawn from competitions for the 16th time in her tennis career and for the first time from the grand slam tournament.

"I gave up so much - time with my daughter, time with my family. So it's really hard to be in this situation", said Williams.

The match against Sharapova had extra intrigue because the two players had not faced each other since Sharapova served a 15-month doping ban.

Williams had defeated Sharapova 18 straight times, but the match had been expected to pack a bigger punch than most between a world No. 451 - Williams - and a 28th seed - Sharapova. "I'm never a day without Olympia".

Garbine Muguruza is coming off a victory over Lesia Tsurenko that took two games to decide before retiring.

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Sharapova said she was "looking forward" to playing Williams and "disappointed" the American had to withdraw.

The possibility of Williams facing Sharapova had been grabbing attention since the draw was made at Roland Garros 10 days ago.

The siblings - one of the best doubles teams ever - lost 6-0 in the third set to third seeds Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Serena's serve speed reportedly dropped as the match wore on.

"I'm going to get an MRI tomorrow. All for this moment", she said. I sacrificed so much to be at this event.

Williams added, "I can only take solace in the fact that I'm going to continue to get better, "per Bonnie Ford of ESPN. I had such a wonderful performance in my first Grand Slam back". "It's extremely disappointing but I made a promise to myself that if I'm not at least 50 percent, I shouldn't play". 1 battle when Halep beat Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-1, and Kerber topped Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-3. Sharapova now automatically moves on to the quarterfinals.

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

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