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Serena Williams withdraws from French Open ahead of Maria Sharapova match

Serena Williams withdraws from French Open ahead of Maria Sharapova match

Minutes before Serena Williams' highly anticipated fourth-round clash against Maria Sharapova, the 23-time major singles champion withdrew with an arm injury.

"I've unfortunately been having issues with my pec muscle and unfortunately it's been getting worse", Williams told reporters.

Williams had worked hard to get back in shape and was making her Grand Slam comeback at the French Open following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia last September.

Sharapova is seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam since her suspension following her confession and is playing her first French Open since 2015 after being refused a wildcard by tournament organisers a year ago.

But, with Williams chasing a fourth French Open title after taking almost a year out to have her baby daughter Olympia, she withdrew yesterday less than a hour before the match was due to begin. I always try to think positive'. Many looked forward to this match, as Serena's lack of match play meant that the Russian might have had a chance.

The athlete said she first noticed chest pain during a victorious match against Julia Görges on Saturday, June 2.

Williams added, "I can only take solace in the fact that I'm going to continue to get better, "per Bonnie Ford of ESPN". She said she tried to tape it up to add support, but "it didn't get a lot better".

Sharapova turned the situation around, but Garcia got a lot of praise.

Despite starting the tournament with a notional ranking of 451 and having played only four matches this year, she played impressively in her three wins in Paris, beating seeds Ashleigh Barty and Goerges in rounds two and three.

"It's very hard because I love playing Maria", Williams said, per USA Today. I've made every sacrifice I could.

The US superstar will have an MRI scan on Tuesday. Her opponent will advance to the quarterfinals.

"But as soon as I started playing, I thought "no, too soon". "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".

"But on the day I can leave a Grand Slam saying I gave everything I had, I played a great match, is not here yet. All for this moment", she said.

Sharapova will now play either Garbiñe Muguruza or Lesia Tsurenko in the quarter-finals.