All the key facts and talking points as fourth-round play concludes at the second Grand Slam of the year.
Alex Macpherson
June 3, 2018

Serena Williams will play Maria Sharapova for the 22nd time today, 14 years since their first meeting in Miami 2004. Williams leads the overall head-to-head 19-2; since the start of 2005, she is 17-0 and 34-2 in sets, having only dropped sets to the Russian in the 2008 Charleston quarterfinals (winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-1) and the 2013 Miami final (winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-0).

Williams's record against Sharapova on clay is 4-0; as well as the 2008 Charleston encounter, their first on the terre battue, the American has also won twice in Madrid (the 2012 quarterfinals and 2013 final) and once at Roland Garros, in the 2013 final. On other surfaces, Williams leads 11-0 on outdoor hard courts and 3-1 on grass; the pair are tied at 1-1 on indoor hard courts.

Williams and Sharapova have played three tiebreaks, all won by the 23-time major champion: in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2010, the Brisbane semifinals in 2014 and the 2015 Australian Open final. Williams has won three bagel 6-0 sets over Sharapova and has taken nine breadstick 6-1 sets to the Russian's one.

This is the second time Sharapova has faced Williams in her third tournament back from a hiatus of over 11 months. The last time was in the 2011 Stanford quarterfinals; Williams had returned at Eastbourne a month previously following a year on the sidelines after she had suffered a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism, but still won 6-1, 6-3.

Maria Sharapova is bidding to make her first quarterfinal at Roland Garros since 2014, having reached that stage on eight of her previous 13 visits, and overall is 24-12 in last-16 matches at majors. Serena Williams has reached the last eight in Paris on 10 of her prior 15 appearances and is 47-8 in Slam fourth rounds; her last loss at this stage was inflicted by Ana Ivanovic at the 2014 Australian Open.

Caroline Garcia - Roland Garros 2017 - Getty
Caroline Garcia shows her relief at making her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros 2017 (Getty)

Before Roland Garros 2017, Caroline Garcia had won just three matches in six appearances in Paris, and had played 20 Grand Slams without going beyond the third round. But after her quarterfinal breakthrough last year, the French No.1 has now won seven matches in her last two home Slams, and has reached the second week at four of the past five majors.

Angelique Kerber leads the head-to-head against Caroline Garcia 4-2. All four of the German's victories - Montréal 2014, Brisbane 2015, Hong Kong 2015 and Indian Wells this year - came in straight sets, with the most recent an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 scoreline. The first of Garcia's wins, in their only previous clay encounter at Madrid 2014, came via retirement; and the Frenchwoman scored her first complete defeat of Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of Wuhan last year.

Angelique Kerber is bidding to reach the French Open quarterfinals for the second time, having previously reached that stage in 2012 before losing to Sara Errani.

Lesia Tsurenko is the only player in action today who has never reached a major quarterfinal; the unseeded World No.39's only previous appearance in the fourth round of a Slam was at the 2016 US Open, where she beat Dominika Cibulkova in the third round. Tsurenko's head-to-head against Garbiñe Muguruza is 1-1: the Ukrainian won 7-5, 6-1 in the second round of Toronto in 2015, but Muguruza gained revenge two years later at the same stage in Wuhan, 6-4, 6-4.

Elise Mertens is bidding to become the first Belgian to reach the quarterfinals in Paris since Alison Van Uytvanck in 2015. Her match against top-seeded Simona Halep is a reprise of their second-round encounter in Madrid three weeks ago - their only previous match - which the Romanian took 6-0, 6-3, ending a 13-match winning streak for Mertens that had included titles in Lugano and Rabat.


The 22nd chapter of Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova is the story of the day - and Matt Zemek at Tennis With An Accent compares the blockbuster to the unexpected revivals of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2017 Australian Open. Revisit the story of their contests through the years in our gallery of every match the pair have played.

Serena Williams's return to the game has made her a "superhero to new moms", writes Christine Brennan for USA Today.

Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens' progress through the draw hasn't received as much attention as the return of past champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, writes Bonnie D. Ford at ESPN, but having made their maiden Slam final together at the US Open last year, they once again moved in lockstep - becoming the 13th and 14th active players to reach the quarterfinals at every major on the same afternoon.


As she has done so often in the past, the legendary Serena Williams is getting better and better with each match. Revisit her straight-sets dismissal of Julia Goerges in the third round here.