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Serena, Sharapova poised for French Open last-16 clash

27 May, 2018, 00:52 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • Maria Shapova

Williams, who will be playing her first Grand Slam since giving birth last September, has played just four matches on the WTA Tour this year and has not featured at all since Miami in March.

On Monday, organizers for the French Open tournament confirmed that they would not be seeding Williams this year because she took time off.

"No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child!" The #WTA should change this rule immediately. The WTA has said that it's open to offering protected seeding - rather than a special ranking - in the future, but that can not be implemented until next year at the earliest.

The hard-hitting Ostapenko, who a year ago became the first unseeded player to win the women's title since 1933, was handed a tricky draw as she could face former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

The clay-court Grand Slam tournament starts on Sunday.

Williams is in the top half of the draw, which is led by No. 1 seed Simona Halep. After all, she had lost 6-1, 6-0 against Barbora Strycova in Eastbourne previous year in her final warmup tournament before Wimbledon, then won the title at the All England Club.

"It's such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from physically, emotionally", Sharapova said last week of Williams giving birth.


As a result of the illness, Williams had to take a long break from tennis.

Current rules covering maternity leave and injuries allow a protected or "special" ranking to be utilized for entry into tournaments but not for seeding purposes regardless of the reason for a player's absence.

The former world No. 1 could face long-time rival Maria Sharapova in the last 16.

In the men's draw, 10-time champion and overwhelming favorite Rafael Nadal will open against Alexandr Dolgopolov. This move has not gone down too well with fellow female tennis players on WTA tour.

Reaching the final in 2017, where she lost to Jelena Ostapenko, means Halep has a lot of ranking points to defend over the next fortnight, and she concedes that is another issue she must contend with.

"I see her getting better and better because she wants it and she is willing to work hard for it and it's still the most important thing in her life". He is in second-seeded Alexander Zverev's quarter and can't meet Nadal before the final.

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