Serena ‘betrayed’ as Sharapova feud fires up French Open

Getty Images  CHRISTOPHER SIMON  AFP

Goerges was reliant on her serve, adding 11 aces, but as the match progressed Williams began to read her serve to fire back more returns nullifying her opponent's big weapon. I lost the first set and thought: "'I must try harder, I must try harder, ' and then Serena came out". "I want to play my game, regardless of who is on the other side".

"My husband is Armenian, I am learning a lot about Armenians, I am an honorary Armenian", the holder of 39 Grand Slam titles said on the sidelines of French Open, according to Ubitennis, an Italian tennis website".

However, Thursday was a tougher proposition for the 36-year-old American, who was playing just her sixth match of this year.

Williams appeared once again in her striking, all-black catsuit. Before her third round match, Sharapova got nothing on her second serve and struggled to finish matches.

Williams made only three unforced errors in the opening set, 12 in all.

Top seed Simona Halep had few troubles in her third round match against Germany's Andrea Petkovic as the 26-year-old Romanian edged a tight first set before claiming a 7-5, 6-0 win.

Sharapova looked set to notch a third straight win over her rival, but failed to serve for the match twice, with Williams saving three match points on the second occasion.

Sharapova, 30, needed just 59 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier to emerge victorious 6-2, 6-1 against an out-of-sorts Pliskova.

Williams won the first set with a strong all-around performance. "I managed to stay aggressive and I played smart as well", said Sharapova, who delighted a half-full Chatrier by thanking them for their support in French.

The Russian star is playing in Paris for the first time since a quarter-final run in 2015.

Muguruza, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros and three-time semifinalist here, faced no break points in winning the first set in 26 minutes. Serena may still be rusty, but she's improving her game each time she takes the court and should be extremely confident given her lopsided history over Sharapova.

"Richard is a very good friend".

Williams said she was stunned so much of Sharapova's book had focused on her.

In the first set, The American broke to lead 3-1 thanks to a cross-court victor going on to wrap up the opening set 6-3.

Halep has twice lost in the final at Roland Garros, including a year ago.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has advanced to the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win against Richard Gasquet, improving to 16-0 against the Frenchman.

Will this be enough for Serena to challenge for the title moving forward?

However, French home favourite Lucas Pouille was beaten 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 by Russia's Karen Khachanov following a rain suspension on Friday.

Seventh-seeded Thiem, a semi-finalist in 2016 and 2017, racked up his 31st win of the year.

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