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Serena Williams’ injury to pectoral muscle forces French Open withdrawal

The highly-awaited match is off.

2018 French Open - Day Eight Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Serena Williams has withdrawn from Monday’s French Open match against Maria Sharapova. It was announced a pectoral injury would cut short her comeback Grand Slam after Williams returned to the tour following the birth of her daughter.

Williams and Sharapova were scheduled to take the court in their quarterfinal match at 9:30 a.m. ET, but shortly before their court time news broke that Williams was unable to play. A press conference was scheduled, with several reports indicating that Williams would also walk onto the court and apologize directly to the Roland Garros crowd.

The injury cuts short a wonderful tournament for Williams, who dominated the competition despite being forced to enter the French Open unseeded due to her time away. Even thought she landed a difficult draw, Williams breezed through No. 11 seed Julia Görges in the round of 32 over the weekend, winning 6-3, 6-4. It’s unclear whether the injury was exacerbated in the Williams sisters’ doubles loss on Sunday.

The match on Monday garnered a tremendous amount of excitement. It represented the first time Williams and Sharapova would meet head-to-head in a tournament since the quarter finals of the 2016 Australian Open. For Sharapova, it represented perhaps her best opportunity to get a win over Williams, who she has struggled against throughout her career. Williams holds a 19-2 lifetime record over Sharapova, with both of her losses coming during the 2004 season.

The French Open is decidedly less interesting without Williams in it, but this tournament was a clear sign that Williams’ career isn’t close to over. She’s still able to beat the world’s best, even on a typically weak surface for her. Should she be healthy, the next chance for Williams to compete in a major will be Wimbledon in July.