Tennis: Five classic matches between Serena and Sharapova

AFP , Sunday 3 Jun 2018

Russia's Maria Sharapova (Photo: AFP)

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will renew their bitter 14-year rivalry in the French Open last 16 on Monday, with the American dominating their record 19-2.

Here are five classic matches between the two former world number ones:

2004 - Wimbledon final

Sharapova won 6-4, 6-1

Sharapova announced herself to the tennis world in dramatic fashion as a 17-year-old at the All England Club by dismantling defending champion Williams in straight sets to become the third-youngest winner of the title. The Russian claimed 13 years later in her book that she heard her beaten opponent crying in the dressing room afterwards, saying she believed that was the motivation for Serena's incredible run of 18 straight wins against her.

2005 - Australian Open semi-finals

Williams won 2-6, 7-5, 8-6

Serena suffered her second defeat in three meetings with Sharapova in 2004 at the WTA Tour Championships, but hit back in some style just three months later at Melbourne Park. Sharapova looked set to notch a third straight win over her rival, but failed to serve for the match twice, with Williams saving three match points on the second occasion. The American edged a dramatic deciding set, before seeing off Lindsay Davenport in the final to clinch her first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2003.

2012 - Olympics final

Williams won 6-0, 6-1

After a straightforward Williams victory at the 2007 Australian Open, the pair did not meet again in a final for over five years, with the eagerly-awaited moment coming at the London Olympics. The match was hyped like a Grand Slam final, with the tournament played at Wimbledon. But Serena underlined her dominance over Sharapova, dropping just one game in a 63-minute humbling to become the first player in history to win all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic singles and doubles gold medals.

2013 - French Open final

Williams won 6-4, 6-4

The only previous time the two have faced off at Roland Garros came in the final five years ago. Sharapova was the defending champion, and fought bravely for much of the match, but could not do enough to stop Williams securing victory at a time when she was at the absolute peak of her powers. It was her 31st consecutive win and her 16th Grand Slam crown, while Sharapova would go on to regain the French Open title in 2014 -- her last major triumph.

2016 - Australian Open quarter-finals

Williams won 6-4, 6-1

It has been over two years since Serena and Sharapova's last on-court clash, but plenty has happened since. Williams eased to her 18th successive win over Sharapova in the Australian Open quarter-finals, but the Russian was then hit with a 15-month doping ban for using the banned substance meldonium. By the time she had returned to the tour in 2017, Williams was taking time off due to pregnancy.

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