After the news broke, Williams appeared in a press conference, calmly explaining what forced her to pull out of a major for the first time mid-tournament. I've made every sacrifice I could.
In explaining the decision, Williams, a 23- time Grand Slam victor, said she had problems with her right pectoral muscle which meant she was struggling with her serve.
She showed that she too can indulge in a bit of reverse psychology.
"I'm having an MRI [scan] tomorrow, I'm going to stay here to see the doctors and see as many specialists as I can".
Williams came into Roland Garros having played four WTA Tour matches, all in March, since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on September 1.
Sharapova, the victor in Paris in 2012 and 2014, missed last year's edition after being denied a wild card following her return to the game from a doping exile, but had little trouble against sixth-seed Karolina Pliskova.
Talking about her doubles clash, Serena said "I thought [doubles] was a ideal opportunity to see how I was going. It hasn't been easy", she said. "So it's really hard to be in this situation", Serena said (via ESPN). "But the only difference is I'm actually getting in extra match play, and I'm really lacking match play".
Williams handled the question like a pro, but being called "baby" and asked about her opponents looks and if she was intimidated by that is asinine.
Her withdrawal allows Sharapova, a two-time French Open champion, to move into the quarterfinals.
Williams downplayed the match, saying that Sharapova probably should be favored.
"It was a shock", Thomas Hogstedt said. Williams has won 19 of their head-to-head meetings, including 18 in a row.
The top-ranked Spaniard beat unseeded Maximilian Marterer 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Williams tried to play down the tag of favourite, given her lengthy absence after giving birth.
Anderson twice served for the match, at 5-4 in the third and fourth sets. Both players have returned from extended absences from the game. "So for me, I always get inspired by other women that are doing well". "She didn't miss one ball, and she was playing very close to the lines". (Unrelated, too, but he should maybe learn how to spell "tumultuous"; it's not "Turlmultuos.") This is not a good look for any reporter, and it's more proof that just because you've been thinking about something for a long while, that doesn't mean it's any good or worth putting out there.
The world number one's record at Roland Garros now stands at 82 wins and just two losses. I put everything on the court, you know? You would assume Serena's not at her best.