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Monday, 4 June 2018 22:30 PM BST
Roland-Garros Day 9: Serena forced to withdraw rounds up the action from Day 9 at Roland-Garros 2018. READ MORE

Serena forced out

Serena Williams’ Grand Slam comeback ended abruptly after she was forced to withdraw from Roland-Garros with an injury. 

About an hour before her highly-anticipated fourth round clash against long-time rival Maria Sharapova, a shock reverberated through the media centre at Roland-Garros when an announcement came over the tannoy that the 23-time Grand Slam was due to give a press conference.

“I'm beyond disappointed,” a dejected Williams told a packed newsroom, after explaining a pectoral injury had forced her to give Sharapova, whom she leads 19-2 in their head-to-head, a walk-over.

“I gave up so much, from time with my daughter to time with my family,” said Williams, who had a baby girl in September and had been playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since winning the 2017 Australian Open. “I put everything on the court. All for this moment.”

Williams, who had never given an opponent a walk-over during a Grand Slam event before, said she started to feel pain during her third round match against Germany’s Julia Goerges, which she won in straight sets.

After hours of treatment, the three-time Roland-Garros champion decided to test her serving arm during a women’s doubles match with her sister Venus on Sunday. By the end of that match, she was only able to serve at half speed, and the pair lost 6-0 in the decider.

Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’ long-time coach, told the Tennis Channel that if Williams had played Sharapova “it would put in danger Wimbledon.”

“If she would have played without being able to serve normally, she would have taken the risk to make the injury really, really worse and that would have been really stupid,” he said.

Williams had an ultrasound on her shoulder on Monday and said she would go for an MRI on Tuesday.

“I was looking forward to my match against Serena today and am disappointed that she had to withdraw,” said Sharapova. “I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon.”

Muguruza advances on a retirement

a few hours later, another women’s fourth round ended prematurely when Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine retired on Court 1 while trailing 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 2-0, with the Spaniard reaching her fourth quarter-final in Paris.

Muguruza will now face Sharapova, whom she has never beaten in three meetings, for a place in the semi-final.

Rafa’s hits 900

Another day, another record for Rafael Nadal.

The ten-time champion was made to work hard in the third set against the tall German left-hander Maximilian Marterer, before eventually completing the 900th win of his long career, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Nadal plays Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final after the No.11 seed recovered from two sets down to overcome US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in a five-set thriller that lasted close to four hours.

Halep and Kerber set up rematch

Away from the spotlight, title favourite Simona Halep has been quietly advancing through the draw, and on Monday, she set up a quarter-final against former world No.1 Angelique Kerber with a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win against Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

The pair last met in the semi-finals of this year's Australian Open, with Halep claiming an extraordinary encounter 6-3, 4-6, 9-7.

“It's every time it's a tough match, and every time I expect the same,” said Halep, who leads the duo's head-to-head 5-4.

“I'm ready mentally, I'm ready physically. I'm ready to face this challenge, and I'm ready to enjoy it."

As for Kerber, she eliminated Caroline Garcia, the last French player in the singles draws, with 6-2, 6-3 victory that saw her reach her first Roland-Garros quarter-final in six years.

“I'm always looking for matches like this, to playing on big stage against the best players,” said Kerber about the prospect of playing Halep.

“This is always a big challenge for me, and to going out there playing quarters in a Grand Slam against one of the best players.”

Kasatkina’s house move

After ending the title hopes of reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a match that had been suspended for darkness at 3-3 in the second set on Sunday night, Daria Kasatkina was getting ready to move house.

“My house which I rent expired today, and I have to change to hotel,” she said, after reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final, where she will play US Open champion Sloane Stephens. “We are moving to the hotel. It is what it is.”

Cilic and Fognini ride a roller coaster

Marin Cilic set up a quarter-final clash with fellow former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro after the Croat defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini in a highly-entertaining encounter, prevailing 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-3 on the Court Philippe Chatrier.

The crowd had gone wild after Fognini saved a match point at 4-5 in the fourth set before taking the match into a fifth set as dusk started to fall. Cilic, though, eventually won the match on his second match point to move to his second straight quarter-final

“Just a crazy match,” said Cilic, last year’s Wimbledon finalist. “It was just hanging by a thread,” he added. “A couple of points decided it.”

Earlier in the day, Del Potro neutralised the booming serves of John Isner, breaking the American three times as he won, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to book a spot in his first quarter-final in Paris in six years.

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