Both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, arch rivals since years, are making a comeback at the French Open. Both of them have been majorly successful at the slam with Serena Williams having won it 3 times and Maria Sharapova having won it twice.
Making a comeback, now both of them have won their respective first round matches, making a return to winning ways. This was Sharapova’s first match at the French Open since 2015, while Serena Williams has been out of professional Tennis since Februrary, 2017, having given birth to a baby daughter recently.
Sharapova had her match against Richel Hogenkamp and won the match 6-1,4-6,6-3. She said she was loving the challenge of competing in a grand slam again.
“I love the challenge of being in a Grand Slam draw and figuring out a way to win,” Sharapova said after a match.
“I thrive on that. I enjoy that challenge, trying to see how I can bring that out of me.”
Sharapova was denied a wildcard entry in last year’s Rolland Garros since she had just returned to professional tennis after a 15 month ban for doping. This year, a semifinal run in Rome pushed her to the top 30 for the first time since her ban, and ensured a free entry for her into the tournament.
Serena Williams on the other hand played against Kristyna Pliskova winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-4. This was her first clay court match in two years.
“Two years is a really long time but I have trained hard on clay and feel good,” she said afterwards.
“I’m happy to have won a match here and I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
It was a tight first set, with Williams coming 3-0 down in the tie breaker to take it eventually at 7-4. There were 5 serve breaks in the second set before Williams took the crucial one to lead 5-4.
Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter in September, 2017, having not played a match since winning his 23rd Grand Slam at the Australian Open the same year.