Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 4, 2018 Serena Williams of the U.S during a press conference after withdrawing from the French Open REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Serena Williams announced her shock withdrawal from the French Open with injury on Monday just minutes before her scheduled fourth-round clash against long-time bitter rival and fellow Grand Slam icon Maria Sharapova.Williams has not lost to the Russian since 2004, winning the last 18 matches.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 percent hearsay" when it came to references about her.Sharapova, the champion in Paris in 2012 and 2014, goes on to play a first quarter-final at the Slams since losing to Williams at the same stage at the 2016 Australian Open.Monday's bombshell announcement was the first time in her 20-year career that Williams had pulled out during a Grand Slam event.Despite her well-documented fall-outs with Sharapova, Williams insisted she had been looking forward to the match.
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