Serena Williams pulls out of French Open before Maria Sharapova match

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Williams first felt the injury, which she has never suffered before, during her third-round victory over Julia Goerges on Saturday.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, was playing in her first Grand Slam since she won the Australian Open in early 2017 while pregnant. Williams said at a news conference Monday that she's unable to serve because of a pectoral problem.

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.

Serena Williams has withdrawn from Roland Garros just moments before her fourth-round match against Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova and Williams clash in the Round of 16 at Roland-Garros on Monday afternoon and both will be determined to win as it would punctuate their respective comebacks - Williams because of pregnancy, and Sharapova because of a drugs ban.

Tuesday's MRI scan will reveal more, but if there is no serious damage, then Wimbledon may still be very much within Williams' sights.

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Williams wanted to return for the Australian Open, but when she wasn't in Grand Slam shape she worked extra hard to return for the French Open.

The American stated: "I can only take solace in the fact I'm going to continue to get better. And try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse".

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It had been the most eagerly awaited match of the tournament, coming just two days after Williams had blasted Sharapova's autobiography for being "100 per cent hearsay" when it came to references about her.

"It's hard because I love playing Maria", Williams said. "So I'm just going to do what the doctors think I should do, and get all the evaluations on it". "It hasn't been easy", she said. "I have made every sacrifice that I could".

"And I was one of the few people that, [with] her whole drug incident, I was, like, "She was courageous to say something". Her opponent will advance to the quarterfinals. Its extremely disappointing but I made a promise to myself that if I'm not at least 50 per cent, I shouldn't play.