Serena survives but Sharapova sent

Defending champion Maria Sharapova has been sent packing from the French Open at the fourth-round stage, but top seed Serena Williams survived a scare to seal her quarter-final place.

Sharapova, seeded two, was beaten in straight sets 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 on Monday by Lucie Safarova, the 13th seed from the Czech Republic who will now meet Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the last eight.

Williams, meanwhile, lost the first set against compatriot Sloane Stephens on the same Court Philippe Chatrier but came back to win 1-6 7-5 6-3 and set up a quarter-final clash with Sara Errani of Italy.

Sharapova, who also won the clay-court grand slam event in 2012 and was the beaten finalist in 2013, had been forced to wait until Monday morning for her clash with Safarova, which had been postponed on Sunday due to rain in the French capital.

But on a bright Paris morning the Russian second seed, who was looking to become the first woman to successfully defend the French Open title since Justine Henin in 2007, was punished for an erratic display from beginning to end.

“I had a few small openings but I wasn’t able to keep up my level. She was more consistent and aggressive, created the angles and that was the difference,” said Sharapova, who had been battling a heavy cold all week.

“It was a tough day at the office.”

In contrast, Williams kept alive her hopes of winning a third French Open title and a 20th grand slam crown, but only after another sluggish opening to her match.

Just as against Anna-Lena Friedsam and Victoria Azarenka in the previous two rounds, Williams lost the opening set, Stephens breaking three times to take it 6-1.

Serena found herself serving to stay in the match at 4-5 in the second set but won the game and went on to take the set 7-5 before claiming the decider 6-3 to secure her passage after exactly two hours on court.

Errani, the Italian 17th seed who was the beaten finalist at Roland Garros in 2012, lies in wait for Serena after she beat unseeded German Julia Goerges 6-2 6-2.

Spanish 21st seed Muguruza, meanwhile, won through to the quarter-finals for the second year running by beating Italy’s 28th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion, was due to meet Swiss 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky later with the winner going on to meet Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!