Serena Williams Turns Things Around Against Ashleigh Barty

Getty Images  CHRISTOPHER SIMON  AFP

Williams, who has played just seven matches this season, considers Sharapova the favourite entering this showdown.

Sharapova said she felt like she improved in her third round match.

Goerges broke the 23-times Grand Slam champion in the fourth game of the second set to get back on level terms at 2-2 but her moment in the spotlight was fleeting as she dropped serve in the very next game and Williams roared on to an easy victory.

Elise Mertens, who defeated Heather Watson in the second round, saw off Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-1 to reach the fourth-round stage for the first time.

Williams said the catsuit was crucial for her health and well-being, claiming it prevented the return of blood clots which left her life in danger after she gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September past year.

She has dominated the headlines in Paris as much for her play - she came back from a set and break down to beat Ashleigh Barty in the second round - as for her striking all-black catsuit. Barty took over a year away from the game of tennis also-but in her case, it was to pursue a professional cricket career.

Serena then uploaded a snap of her in the suit at the French Open to her Instagram, captioning the photo, 'Catsuit anyone? The match was hyped like a Grand Slam final, with the tournament played at Wimbledon. At 40-15, Williams reached double match point, and only needed one as she served an ace to win the French Open for the first time since 2003.

Sharapova gets smoked every time she plays Serena.

Williams pulled off the 6-3, 6-4 win against the No. 11 seed on Suzanne-Lenglen Court in Paris.

"I love how proud they are, I am planning to go over there, do not know if this year or next year, it is going to be fun!"

"You know, she's been playing, like I said, for over a year now".

Maria Sharapova is relishing the opportunity to take on Serena Williams at the French Open, stating that her hard work allows her to "bring it" in such high-profile encounters.

Asked how it would feel to return to a main show court for her third-round match, she replied: "Do you know the schedule?"

Sharapova quickly dispatched of Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1 in her round of 32 matchup Saturday on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Other women moving into the fourth round included 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza, two-time French Open finalist Simona Halep, two-time major-title victor Angelique Kerber and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

"I think she hated me for taking something that she believed belonged to her".

"Today was a little bit different, because the court is pretty small, and I felt that all the people were on court with me", said Halep, whose freakish court scheduling was met with outrage from many fans online.

Serena will face Germany's Julia Goerges for a place in the last 16 on Saturday.

The Spaniard, victor in 2016 and seeded third, took just 62 minutes to see off Stosur, the 2011 US Open champ, 6-0 6-2. She will, however, need to be more consistent if she is to beat the Czech, a semi-finalist here past year.

But her movement around the court is not as slick as she would like - she has played only five singles matches since becoming a mother to Alexis Olympia.

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