Two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova rolled past sixth seed Czech Karolina Pliskova at Roland Garros on Saturday, sliding through the third round to set up a 22nd career showdown with Serena Williams.
Williams beat Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4 in the evening feature in Paris, securing their latest showdown.
Sharapova appeared ready for whatever comes next Saturday with a 6-2, 6-1, straight sets victory.
The French Open champion in 2012 and 2014, Sharapova is seeded in a major tournament for the first time since receiving a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium.
The rivalry with Williams has been decidedly one-sided in Williams’ favor. In 21 career meetings, Sharapova is 2-19 against Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who has won 18 straight matches in the series.
“I think any time you play against Serena you know what you’re up against. You know the challenge that is upon you,” the Russian Sharapova said, per the WTA.
“Despite the record that I have against her, I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best player.”
In high-seeded action Saturday, No. 1 seed Romanian Simona Halep topped Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, 7-5, 6-0, and No. 3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain dominated Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-0, 6-2.
In a match between closely matched seeds, No. 12 Angelique Kerber of Germany held off No. 18 Kiki Bertens of Netherlands 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4).
Eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitová ran into trouble, falling to No. 25 Estonian Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4). No. 19 seed Magdaléna Rybáriková of Slovakia was also upset, falling to Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-4.
Seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia of France advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu and 10th-seeded American Sloane Stephens rallied to beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 4-6, 6-1, 8-6.
Also on Saturday, No. 16 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium had little trouble getting past No. 24 seed Aussie Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-1.
–Field Level Media