French Open: Serena withdraws with injury before marquee match against Sharapova
Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski advances in mixed doubles, falls in women's
Serena Williams called off her Grand Slam comeback because of a chest muscle injury on Monday, pulling out of the French Open shortly before she was supposed to play Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
"It's extremely disappointing," Williams said during a news conference at Roland Garros. "But also, I made a promise to myself and to my coach and to my team that if I'm not at least 60 per cent or 50 per cent, then I probably shouldn't play."
Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said she can't hit serves because of a problem with her right pectoral muscle. Her voice trembled a bit as she explained that she will get an MRI exam and consult with doctors before figuring out what will happen next for her.
"The fact that I physically can't serve at all is a good indication that maybe I should just go back to the drawing board and stay positive," Williams said, "and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse."
The 36-year-old American was competing at a major tournament for the first time in 16 months — and for the first time since giving birth to her daughter last September.
Sharapova wished Williams a speedy recovery and a rapid return to the tour in a two-sentence statement released by French Open organizers.
"I was looking forward to my match against Serena and am disappointed that she had to withdraw," Sharapova said.
Williams said her chest began hurting in her third-round singles victory over 11th-seeded Julia Goerges on Saturday.
"It was really painful," Williams said, "and I didn't know what it was."
Despite that, Williams played in a doubles loss alongside her older sister, Venus, on Sunday and tried to limit the pain by taping up the muscle. But nothing was effective enough that Williams thought she could continue in Paris.
Her withdrawal allows Sharapova, a two-time French Open champion, to move into the quarterfinals.
Sharapova's coach said the Russian player was waiting courtside when they were informed of Williams' withdrawal.
"It was a shock," Thomas Hogstedt said. "We were ready. We prepared a long time for this match."
Their match had shaped up as the most-anticipated of the women's tournament, even though Williams has won 19 of 21 previous head-to-head encounters, including the past 18 in a row.
Nadal sweeps into quarters
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has again reached the quarter-finals in his bid for a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros.
The top-ranked Spaniard beat unseeded Maximilian Marterer 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4). He has yet to drop a set at this year's tournament.
Nadal patted Marterer sympathetically on the chest at the net after winning on his second match point.
Nadal will next play 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, who rallied to beat Kevin Anderson 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (0), 6-2.
Anderson twice served for the match, at 5-4 in the third and fourth sets.
Wozniacki can't make it 2 straight
Caroline Wozniacki's bid for a second straight Grand Slam title is over.
The second-seeded Dane lost to Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the fourth round, dropping all three games played Monday after the match had been suspended the day before because of darkness.
"I honestly didn't think I played badly," said Wozniacki, who won the Australian Open in January. "She didn't miss one ball, and she was playing very close to the lines. I was trying what I could, but it just wasn't enough."
It was Kasatkina's third straight win over Wozniacki, who has never been beyond the quarterfinals at the French Open.
"It's something like dream come true to play on this court, it was my dream since childhood," said the 21-year-old Russian, who is seeded 14th. "First time I took a racket in my hand I played like this. It's just the way of my mind."
Kasatkina has reached the quarterfinals for the first time at any major, and she will next play U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Halep rolls through
Top-seeded Simona Halep remains on course for her elusive first major after beating 16th-seeded Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-1.
Halep lost this year's Australian Open final to Wozniacki. She also lost in last year's French Open final and in the 2014 final at Roland Garros. The 26-year-old Romanian will next face either two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber or Caroline Garcia.
Canadian Dabrowski splits doubles matches
Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski is two wins away from capturing her second Grand Slam mixed doubles title in a row.
The top-seeded team of Dabrowski, from Ottawa, and Mate Pavic of Croatia beat Demi Schuurs and Matwe Middelkoop of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 in a French Open quarter-final on Monday.
Dabrowski and Pavic, who teamed up to win the Australian Open title earlier this year, will square off with Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico in a semifinal.
Dabrowski, 26, is looking to win the third Grand Slam mixed doubles title of her career. She took the 2017 French Open crown with Rohan Bopanna of India.
Earlier Monday, Dabrowski's run in the French Open women's doubles draw came to a close. The Canadian and partner Yifan Xu of China lost 6-1, 6-2 to Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan in a third-round match.
With files from The Canadian Press