American Serena Williams' audacious attempt to win the French Open for a fourth time ended in crushing anti-climax on Monday as injury, rather than an old foe, forced the 36-year-old to admit defeat at Roland Garros.
Serena had gone into that match wearing her striking all-black catsuit but she admitted she had had to tape her serving arm to try and protect the injury.
"I'm beyond disappointed. You know, I gave up so much, from time with my daughter to time with my family". It's a little bit sad, I think, for everyone.
"No, because she knew I would tell her not to play the doubles", he told the AP.
"I really felt I needed to (play in the doubles) because I'm never going to know how I feel under match play if I didn't have that match", she explained. On top of that, she said, that it "wasn't necessarily true". The Russian will have to do something exceptional to get past her. "I was surprised about that, to be honest".
"It's a Wimbledon final, you know".
"The book was a lot about me", Williams continued. 8th seed in Roland Garros Maria Sharapova beat World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova 2-0 with 6-2 and 6-1 sets and went on the round.
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The Argentine decision may also have been influenced by deadly violence along the Israeli-Gaza border. At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire on the frontier since March 30.
Williams was playing in her first grand slam since giving birth to her first child last September, dropping just one set on her way to reaching the last 16 in the French capital.
Going by the history though, Serena has a 19-2 record advantage over Sharapova with her two losses coming way back in 2004.
Sharapova, herself making a French Open comeback after missing the last two editions following a doping ban, will face Garbine Muguruza in the last eight.
Sharapova's coach, Thomas Hogstedt, said that word of Williams' withdrawal arrived while his player was doing warmup exercises outside the locker room at Court Philippe Chatrier, waiting for the match ahead of theirs to finish.
Dressed in the black bodysuit with a red band around the waist she resembled a superhero - not just a supermum - and was playing as if she had never been away.
Next up will be a meeting with either her long-time nemesis Serena Williams, who has beaten Sharapova in 18 successive encounters dating back to 2005, or Germany's Julia Goerges.