Old rivals Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will face one another in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday. Find out everything you need to know about the match below.
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How can I watch Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova live on TV?
The match will be shown live from Roland Garros on ITV4 and Eurosport 1. The pair are expected to start at 3pm UK time on Philippe-Chatrier court, although the match could start slightly sooner depending on when other matches finish.
When did they last play one another?
The meeting at the French Open 2018 will be their first since 2016, when Williams defeated Sharapova in straight sets in the Australian Open quarter final (she went on to lose the final to German Angelique Kerber).
Both are returning to the game after extended breaks. The French Open is Williams’ first Grand Slam tournament in 16 months – she gave birth to a baby girl last September. Sharapova is competing at Roland Garros for the first time in three years after she was temporarily banned from the sport for taking a recently-banned drug called Meldonium back in 2016.
Williams has won their last 18 meetings – with Sharapova’s winless streak stretching all the way back to 2004.
What did Sharapova say about Williams in her autobiography?
A lot of the conversation in the lead-up to the match has surrounded Maria Sharapova’s 2017 autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, in which the tennis pro suggested that Williams “hated” her.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,” she wrote. “I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”
Williams has refuted these claims in recent interviews.
“I think the book was 100% hearsay, which was a little bit disappointing,” she said. “I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it’s normal. I think if anything, it shows the passion and the desire and, you know, the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.”
She continued: “I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book. A lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it’s not true. Especially having a daughter – I feel like negativity is taught. If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that a thousand times.”
Who is favourite?
Williams has conceded in pre-match interviews that Sharapova is probably the favourite ahead of their 22nd meeting.
“She’s probably a favourite in this match, for sure,” she said. “She’s been playing for over a year now. I just started. But I think this will be another test.”