French Open 2018: Serena withdraws; Del Potro, Nadal advance

Serena Williams withdrawing moments before her match against Sharapova was the biggest news of the day.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams are set to face off in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.   -  AFP

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the French Open.

Quarterfinal line-up

Men

Women

Rafael Nadal vs Diego Schwartzman

Marin Cilic vs Juan Martin Del Potro

Marco Cecchinato vs Novak Djokovic

Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev

Simona Halep vs Angelique Kerber

Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sharapova

Yulia Putintseva vs Madison Keys

Sloane Stephens vs Daria Kasatkina

 

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That brings an end to Day 9 action at the French Open.

11:20pm: Marin Cilic withstands late charge from Fognini to score a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-3 win in an engrossing five-setter. The Croat will now face Del Potro in the quarterifnal.

 

11:15pm: Cilic gets the crucial break in the fifth set to go 4-3 up.

10:45pm:  Fabio Fognini wins the tiebreaker to push the match against Cilic into the fifth set. Score: 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7

Williams 'beyond disappointed' after injury ends French Open bid

 

10:30pm: Garbine Muguruza is through to the quarterfinals after Lesia Tsurenko is forced to retire with a leg injury. It's Sharapova vs Muguruza in the quarters. Sharapova didn't even have the make the court for her Last 16 clash as Serena Williams announced her withdrawal before the match. In effect, both the quarterfinalists will have been well rested and an exciting contest in on cards.

 

10:20pm: Juan Martin del Potro registers a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over John Isner. Del Potro had earlier Isner's streak of winning 59 consecutive service games, in the first set. Del Potro will face the winner of the match between Cilic and Fognini.

 

10:07pm: John Isner get in a delectable drop from the baseline! Del Potro tried his best, but it was well placed and quite unreachable. 

10:00pm: Del Potro looks keen to finish the game before any possible rain interruption. He is a break up and quite literally running through with his service game against Isner. He leads the third set 4-2.

9:45pm: Del Potro secures the second set with a similar scoreline — 6-4. Can John Isner make a comeback in the third set?

9:40pm: Meanwhile, Fabio Fognini stays alive in the contest by clinching the third set 6-3 against Marin Cilic. Cilic leads 2-1 ( 6-1, 6-1, 3-6).

9:30pm: Del Potro is a break up in the second set and leading 4-3.

9:25pm: After a lacklustre form in the first two sets, Fognini secures three consecutive breaks to go 3-1 up in the third set against Marin Cilic.

9:02pm: Marin Cilic holds his serve, wins the second set 6-2 against Fabio Fognini and goes two sets up.

9:00pm: Del Potro takes the first set 6-4, against John Isner.

8:57pm: Del Potro is serving for the set, trailing 15-30 against John Isner in the 10th game.

8:55pm: Marin Cilic has broken Fabio Fognini's serve again, extending his lead to 5-1 in the second set.

8:45pm: Juan Martin del Potro breaks John Isner's serve and now leads 4-3 in the first set. Elsewhere, Fabio Fognini is on board in the second set, having held his serve against Marin Cilic, who is ahead 3-1.

8:04pm: Angelique Kerber cruises into the quarterfinal with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia in an hour and seven minutes.

 

France will just have to wait another year for a French winner in Roland Garros singles. It's been 18 years – the last was Mary Pierce in 2000. The last man was Yannick Noah in 1983. No other French player has won the singles title at the French Open in the Open Era.

Meanwhile, Fognini has broken back and is serving at 2-3 against Čilić.

8:00pm: Matters get interesting on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. Garcia breaks Kerber, but she's still down a break.

7:56pm: Garcia holds at the 1-hour mark. Kerber to serve for the match at 6-2, 5-2.

7:53pm: Garcia's forehand hits the net cord on the fourth match point. It's deuce.

7:52pm: Garcia gives Kerber match point No.3, then saves it.

7:51pm: Kerber on match point again. And she hits the ball into the net.

7:49pm: Match point for Kerber on the Garcia serve. And Garcia saves it. It's deuce.

Čilić's up 2-0 in his match.

7:46pm: Čilić wins the first game on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Fognini to serve.

7:44pm: Garcia serves to stay in the match.

7:40pm: Kerber breaks to love. She's up 6-2, 4-1 in just 44 minutes. She could do with an easy win today. Simona Halep awaits her in the quarterfinals.

7:37pm: Kerber holds to love to lead 3-1 in the second set.

7:33pm: A roar from Garcia as she holds to love! But she's drowned out by the cheers from the stands.

7:31pm: Garcia is really struggling against Kerber. She's down 2-6, 0-2 and has won just 19 points to the German's 36.

7:23pm: The next match on Court Philippe-Chatrier will be third seed Marin Čilić vs 18th seed Fabio Fognini.

ALSO READ: Serena withdraws ahead of Sharapova showdown

7:22pm: Garcia saves two set points. It goes to deuce, but Kerber closes it out on her third set point.

7:19pm: Kerber is serving for the first set at 5-2.

7:10pm: Rafael Nadal is through on his second match point. Another straight sets victory for Nadal, who extends the number of consecutive sets he has won on the red clay of Paris to 37.

 

Final score: 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

It's also Nadal's 900th career win. He's fifth on the all-time list that's led by Jimmy Connors (1,256), followed by Roger Federer (1,149), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Guillermo Vilas (949).

7:09pm: Three match points for Nadal.

7:03pm: SERENA WILLIAMS HAS WITHDRAWN AHEAD OF HER FOURTH ROUND MATCH WITH MARIA SHARAPOVA.

 

"I unfortunately have been having some issues with my pec muscle... right now I can't actually serve, so it's actually hard to play when I can't physically serve," Williams said at a press conference where she announced her withdrawal.

"I'm beyond disappointed. I gave up so much from time with my daughter and time with my family all for this moment. So it's really difficult to be in this situation."

So the match everyone was waiting for today will not happen.

Williams has entered only two tournaments this year on her return to the tour after giving birth to her daughter last September, losing early both times – to sister Venus in the third round at Indian Wells and to Naomi Osaka in the first round at Miami. In the run-up to the French Open, she withdrew from the tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

7:00pm: Nadal holds serve and takes the third set to a tie-break. Marterer to serve.

6:55pm: The Angelique Kerber-Caroline Garcia match has begun on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The best either has done at Roland Garros is the quarters, which both are aiming for today, obviously. Will it be the German former world No.1 or the local hope? Only one Frenchwoman has won the French Open singles title in the Open Era – Mary Pierce in 2000.

6:47pm: Nadal to serve at 4-5 in the third set.

The 10-time champion has won 36 straight sets at Roland Garros as of the second set. The last time he dropped a set was in the quarterfinal match that he lost to Djokovic in 2015. Just saying.

6:35pm: Three match points for Schwartzman.... And ace! Diego Schwartzman is through to the French Open quarterfinals with a 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(0), 6-2 win over Kevin Anderson in 3 hours and 51 minutes.

What a comeback for the Argentine 11th seed! Blown away by Anderson in the first two sets, he broke the South African when he was serving for the match in the next two sets. By the fifth, Anderson looked spent, and the match was Schwartzman's to lose.

6:33pm: It's three games all in the Nadal-Marterer third set.

On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Schwartzman is serving for the match at 5-2.

6:27pm: The defending French Open champion has broken back but still trails Marterer 2-3 in the third set.

6:21pm: Maximilian Marterer has broken Nadal's serve, going 3-1 up in the third set.

6:15pm: Rafael Nadal holds his serve to level the scores in the third set, 1-1.

6:12pm: Maximilian Marterer held his serve to go 1-0 up in the third set.

6:06pm: Anderson breaks back to make it 1-1.

6:00pm: Schwartzman breaks Anderson in the first game of the deciding set.

Can the Argentine 11th seed complete a comeback from two sets down? Well, Anderson has served for the match in the last two sets and Schwartman won both.

On Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal's up 6-3, 6-2. No surprises there.

5:57pm: Materer saves the first break point. Nadal sends the second long but wins it on the third. He's serving for the second set now.

5:54pm: Materer shakes his head as the ball hits the top edge of his racket and Nadal gets three break points.

5:52pm: Schwartzman blanks Anderson in the tie-break. It's two sets all.

5:49pm: It's 4-0 to Schwartzman. Sorry, 5-0. He's breezing through this tie-break.

5:48pm: We're into a tie-break on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and Schwartzman has the mini-break at 2-0.

5:40pm: A repeat of the third set: Schwartzman breaks Anderson while he was serving for the match. It's 5-5 all in the fourth.

5:30pm: Sixth seed Kevin Anderson is a game away from his first Roland Garros quarterfinal appearance. He leads Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 5-3.

5:26pm: Nadal breaks Marterer in the first game of the second set.

5:23pm: Nadal wins the opening set 6-3.

The champion last dropped a set at Roland Garros in 2015 – when he lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the quarters. Of course, he withdrew before his third round match in 2016.

ALSO READ: Imperious Halep marches into last eight

5:19pm: Marterer holds to love. But Nadal will serve for the first set.

5:15pm: Nadal holds to take a 5-2 lead.

Elsewhere, Anderson is up 3-1 in the fourth set against Schwartzman.

5:10pm: Nadal ups his game. He breaks Marterer to love.

5:07pm: Marterer slices the ball deep to Nadal's backhand and then sends him scurrying the other way as he sets up his first break point. Nadal makes it 40-all, then saves another break point before holding serve.

The champion is being challenged.

4:58pm: Nadal breaks back. It's 2-2 in the opening set.

And Schwartzman earns a break of his own against Anderson. It's a game apiece.

4:54pm: Anderson breaks Schwartzman in the opening game of the fourth set.

4:46pm: Marterer holds serve to lead the first set 2-0. Not the best of starts for Nadal.

On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Schwartzman breaks Anderson to win the third set 7-5. The momentum has swung!

4:43pm: Nadal is broken in the first game of his match!

ALSO READ: Kasatkina into uncharted territory with Wozniacki win

4:39pm: Schwartzman is pumped! He holds for a 6-5 lead.

4:36pm: Schwartzman breaks Anderson, who was serving for the match! It's five all in the third set.

4:30pm: Kevin Anderson leads 5-4 in the third set and is serving for the match.

4:16pm: Rafael Nadal will be on Court Philippe-Chatrier shortly. He takes on Maximilian Marterer, the 22-year-old German who only won his first ATP main draw match in January at the Australian Open, where he made it to the third round.

4:12pm: Wozniacki out!

The second big upset of the tournament. Daria Kasatkina, the world No.14, is through to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win over the Australian Open champion.

4:11pm: Three match points for Kasatkina.

4:10pm: Wozniacki broken! Kasatkina to serve for a place in the quarters! It's 7-6, 5-3 to the 21-year-old Russian.

4:08pm: No breaks of serve yet in the third set. Anderson to serve at 2-3.

On Philippe-Chatrier, the Wozniacki-Kasatkina match has resumed.

3:52pm: The Anderson Express rolls on. He wins the second set with a massive ace. The South African leads 6-1, 6-2.

3:42pm: Schwartman has everything going against him today. Holding a break point on Anderson's serve, his shot hits the top of the net and gently bounces back on his side. The Argentine looks to the skies. In prayer maybe?

Anderson holds for a 5-1 lead.

3:37pm: The world No.1, Simona Halep of Romania, is through.

Mertens double-faults to give Halep the win 6-2, 6-1.

Up next on Court Philippe-Chatrier: Kasatkina and Wozniacki will resume their match from last night. The world No.2 lost the first set in a tie-break, and it's 3-3 in the second. Read about it here.

3:24pm: Mertens breaks Halep, who was serving for the match!

3:30pm: Halep holds, then Mertens drops a second service game in a row without winning a point. The world No.1 needs just another game to put the Belgian out of her misery.

3:24pm: Ouch! Mertens drops another game – without winning a point. Halep's up 3-0 in the second. The match looks like it's over already.

3:20pm: Similar scenes on Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen: Halep and Anderson both break their opponents' serves in the first game of the second set.

3:15pm: Halep runs away with the first set 6-2. The two have met only one before, at the Madrid Open a month ago, and Mertens didn't do much better then – Halep won 6-0, 6-3.

Schwartman isn't faring better either. He's lost the first set 1-6 to the towering South African.

3:11pm: Anderson serves for the first set after breaking Schwartman for the third time.

3:06pm: Halep holds to go up 4-2.

Anderson does the same. He leads 4-1.

3:02pm: Another break! Anderson leads 3-1. That's three breaks of serve in four games.

2:59pm: Schwartman immediately breaks back! It's back on serve.

Halep holds for 3-1.

2:56pm: Anderson breaks Schwartman in the Argentine's first service game to take an early  2-0 lead.

2:52pm: Halep breaks to go up 2-1 in the first set.

2:50pm: Halep squanders a couple of break points on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

2:45pm: A David vs Goliath match has begun on Court Suzanne-Lenglen (height-wise): the 5'7 Diego Schwartzman vs the 6'8 Kevin Anderson.

2:42pm: It's one game all for world No.1 Simona Halep and Elise Mertens.

2:30pm: The biggest draw of the day is the women's singles fourth-round clash between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep will also be in action today.

On the men's side, Rafael Nadal takes on Maximilian Marterer of Germany. But the big contest is expected to be between John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro.

Order of play

Court Philippe-Chatrier

Play starts at 11am (all match times in GMT)

Simona Halep (Romania) [1] vs Elise Mertens (Belgium) [16]

Not before 12pm

Daria Kasatkina (Russia) [14] vs Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) [2]

To be completed: Kasatkina leads 7-6(5) 3-3

Rafael Nadal (Spain) [1] vs Maximilian Marterer (Germany)

Serena Wiilliams (USA) vs Maria Sharapova (Russia) [28]

Marin Cilic (Croatia) [3] vs Fabio Fognini (Italy) [18]

Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Play starts at 11am

Diego Schwartman (Argentina) [11] vs Kevin Anderson (South Africa) [6]

Angelique Kerber (Germany) [12] vs Caroline Garcia (France) [7]

John Isner (USA) [9] vs Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) [5]

Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain) [3] vs Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)

Day 8 recap: Novak Djokovic beat Fernando Verdasco in straight sets to progress to the last eight, while Dominic Thiem too had an easy time, knocking out Kei Nishikori in four sets. Second seed Alexander Zverev was taken to five sets for the third match in a row, and next up for the German is Thiem, a prospect he will not be savouring. (REPORT)

Among the women, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Yulia Putintseva all had easy wins, while world No.2 Caroline Wozniacki's lost the first set to Daria Kasatkina before the match was suspended midway through the second. (REPORT)