Serena Williams Slams Sharapova's Book as 'Hearsay' Ahead of French Open Game

Arnold Nichols
June 4, 2018

Next for Williams as she competes in a major tournament for the first time in 16 months - and since giving birth in September - will be a familiar foe, Maria Sharapova.

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 think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon".

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

Williams and Sharapova are slated to play at 8:15 a.m. ET on Monday morning.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles, Sharapova five. Sharapova, 31, has won five. They are two of only six women with a career Grand Slam, and the only ones still playing. Both have been ranked No 1.

Sharapova has won just two of their 21 meetings - including the 2004 Wimbledon final - and none in the last 14 years. It proved to be a good battle between the pair, with Williams just edging the Czech out of the first set, which seemed vital, and eventually winning 7-6 6-4.

She next plays seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia of France. "I'm just going to go out there and enjoy myself".

The 23-times grand slam victor needed just 75 five minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen to brush aside Goerges 6-3, 6-4 and set up a meeting with Maria Sharapova.

"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".

Apart from Sharapova's indiscretions, there were other things in the book that irked Williams.

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

"I don't have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book". I was, like: "Oh, okay, I didn't expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn't necessarily true".

Seconds later, Williams made reference to Sharapova's "incident of drugs".

There were plenty of other results involving top names at the French Open on Saturday.

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. The Russian claimed 13 years later in her book that she heard her beaten opponent crying in the dressing room afterwards, saying she believed that was the motivation for Serena's incredible run of 18 straight wins against her.

This is Williams' first Grand Slam tournament since January 2017, when she won the Australian Open while pregnant.

When Williams was broken for the only time, early in the second set, she immediately broke back.

The Russian may feel that this is as good a time as any to play her nemesis, though, with three-time Roland Garros victor Williams lacking playing time, while Sharapova produced her best tennis since returning to the court in dismantling former world number one Pliskova.

The careless errors were largely absent.

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