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Saturday, 2 June 2018 21:27 PM BST
Roland-Garros Day 7: Sharapova and Serena set up showdown rounds up the action from Day 7 at Roland-Garros 2018. READ MORE

Sharapova and Williams meet again

When the women's singles draw was made, perhaps the most eye-catching potential scenario was a fourth round meeting between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

And after both won their third round matches in commanding fashion, they will now face off for a spot in the Roland-Garros quarter-finals. 

Williams, competing in her first Grand Slam event since giving birth last September, played her best match of the tournament as she defeated the No.11 seed Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4 as dusk fell on a warm day in Paris.

“Quite frankly, she's probably a favorite in this match, for sure,” said Williams, the Roland-Garros champion in 2002, 2013 and 2015, about playing Sharapova for the first time since the 2016 Australian Open.

After losing their first two meetings, including the Wimbledon final, in 2004, Williams has won 19 matches in a row against Sharapova, including the 2013 Roland-Garros title match.

“This will be another test,” said Williams, who met former boxing champion Mike Tyson after her match. “I think this is just one of her best surfaces, and she always does really, really well here. So this would be a good opportunity for me kind of to see where I am and just hopefully continue to go forward.”

Earlier in the day, the former top-ranked Russian put in a vintage performance against Karolina Pliskova, beating one of the biggest servers in the women’s game, 6-2, 6-1.

“I think any time you play against Serena you know what you're up against,” said Sharapova, who produced 18 winners, while her opponent had five.

“You know the challenge that is upon you,” said Sharapova, the winner at Roland-Garros in 2012 and 2014, when asked about Williams.

“Despite the record that I have against her, I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best player,” said Sharapova, who is playing in her first Roland-Garros in three years after serving a 15-month doping suspension.

Rafa’s masterclass

“The earth will tremble,” headlined the Roland-Garros daily newspaper ahead of the match between defending champion Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet.

The only person for whom the earth truly did tremble was one of the ball boys, who had a hit with Nadal after the Spaniard extended his win streak against the Frenchman to 16-0 with a commanding 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory. 

Nadal, who won the first twelve points of the match, is now 82-2 in Paris, and has won 35 consecutive sets since losing 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 to Novak Djokovic here in 2015. The only player to have posted a longer streak at Roland-Garros was Bjorn Borg, who won 41 straight sets in 1979-81.

Nadal will play the tall left-handed German Maximilian Marterer in the fourth round in what will be their first meeting.

Adieu for Petra Kvitova

In an action-packed day, Petra Kvitova’s 13-match clay court winning streak was ended by Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who knocked the two-time Wimbledon champion out of the third round in a rain-delayed match, 7-6(6), 7-6(4).

“She's putting every return back, so that's why probably I was risking the serve,” said Kvitova, who got broken five times and served ten double faults. “Probably that's why I made some double faults as well. My legs wasn't really jumping that high as I wished.”

Kontaveit, who has now beaten four Top 10 players since the start of the Madrid Open last month, plays another Grand Slam champion in her first Roland-Garros fourth round: US Open winner Sloane Stephens of the US.

Grass beckons for Edmund

Kyle Edmund can start focusing on the grass court season after the 23-year-old Briton lost an up-and-down contest against the No.18 seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Although he struggled with a hip injury in his match against Fognini, Edmund is proud of the best clay court season of his career, during which he made the final in Marrakech, Morocco and defeated former world No.1 Novak Djokovic in Madrid.

"It's the best clay court season, in terms of results, so far in my career so that's always a positive," said Edmund, who is ranked at a career-high No.17 after a breakthrough year that saw him reach the Australian Open semi-final in January.

After taking some time off to rest, Edmund will start his grass court season at Queen’s Club in London in a fortnight.

Fognini's win means there are two Italians in the fourth round here for the first time since 1976, and he will face former US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Muguruza on a mission

What a difference a year makes for Garbine Muguruza.

The reigning Wimbledon champion left Roland-Garros in tears last year after losing her crown to France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the fourth round.

This year, the No.3 seed handed former US Open champion Sam Stosur one of the one-sided losses of her long career, 6-0, 6-2.

“I believe I can hold a trophy not only here; I believe I can do it in every tournament I play,” said Muguruza, who has yet to drop a set and plays Lesia Tsurenko in the fourth round.

As for 2010 finalist Stosur, who has lost to the eventual winner in five of her past nine appearances in Paris, she will drop out of the Top 100 for the first time in ten years.

Halep, Kerber through

Simona Halep, the top seed from Romania and a two-time finalist in Paris, also advanced, beating Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, 7-5, 6-0 on Court 18 to set up a meeting with Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Angelique Kerber overcame dark horse Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 7-6 (4) , 7-6(4). The former world No.1 will now play France’s Caroline Garcia for a place in the quarter-final.

Goffin's escape

Belgium’s David Goffin saved four match points as he overcame former semi-finalist Gael Monfils of France in a tempestuous, rain-delayed match on the Court Suzanne Lenglen, utlimately prevailing 6-7(8-6), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Goffin will play Marco Cecchinato of Italy for a place in his second Roland-Garros quarter-final.

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