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Serena Williams sets up Maria Sharapova French Open showdown

Serena Williams sets up Maria Sharapova French Open showdown

Serena Williams sets up Maria Sharapova French Open showdown

Williams sat out while pregnant and after giving birth to a daughter last September, and hadn't competed at a Grand Slam tournament in 16 months until now.

"I think the book was 100 percent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing", said Williams after her 6-3, 6-4 third-round win over Julia Goerges.

Serena leads her head-to-head record with Sharapova 19-2, with the Russian´s last win coming at the 2004 WTA Tour Championships - before even the birth of Twitter and YouTube.

"This is the first time I've come into an event with, really, not too many expectations, you know. I just started. So I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go".

A new chapter in the Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova rivalry will be written after the superstar pair set up a highly-anticipated fourth round with wins at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Sharapova's comeback is more advanced, having returned to the Tour, with modest success, 12 months ago although this is her first French Open since 2015, having been snubbed by organisers past year and not handed a wildcard.

The two players have had their public falling-outs over the years, but on the court Williams rules.

That was part of a surge in which Williams claimed seven points in a row and never really looked back.

PARIS-The list of cities in which Serena Williams has beaten Maria Sharapova reads like a travel guide: Madrid, Doha, Melbourne and Miami to name a few.

"I feel like a warrior wearing it, a queen from Wakanda [referring to the Black Panther movie] maybe", she said.

"The book was a lot about me".

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"I knew it was my match to win", the 31-year-old said.

Sharapova said she felt like she improved in her third round match.

Williams also suggested that the book was wrong to say she "hated" Sharapova.

Other women moving into the fourth round included 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza, two-time French Open finalist Simona Halep, two-time major-title victor Angelique Kerber and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

But because no match-up in a women's field packed with potential Grand Slam winners provides the "edge" that is so apparent whenever the two spiky old warriors face each other across a tennis net.

"I knew this would be very tough against a former US Open victor and a player who has made the final here", said 24-year-old Muguruza.

There have been clashes over their private lives, while Sharapova claimed past year in her book that Serena "hates" her for hearing her cry after the 2004 Wimbledon final.

"I didn't know she looked up to me that much or was so involved in my career".

Earlier, Sharapova marked her first appearance on Court Philippe Chatrier in three years with a 6-2, 6-1 rout of Karolina Pliskova while 10-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated childhood friend Richard Gasquet for the 16th time.

After such an impressive performance it is now not inconceivable that come next Saturday she will be celebrating a fourth triumph in Paris and cementing her place alongside Margaret Court as the holder of a record 24 Grand Slam titles. The following year she beat her sister Venus in the Australian Open final, carrying her recently conceived baby.

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