Serena Williams has set up a heavyweight fourth-round showdown with her old foe, Maria Sharapova on Monday, after she took only 75 minutes to knock out German 11th seed Julia Goerges 6-3 6-4 at the French Open.
Just seven matches into her comeback following a maternity break, Williams ranked 451st impressed all those watching on the 10,000-seater Suzanne Lenglen Court — including former boxing champion Mike Tyson — by pulverizing her opponent.
After she broke for a 3-1 lead with a blazing crosscourt winner, tremors were felt all around the arena as Williams smashed the ball away with all her might to wrap up the opening set.
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.
After reaching the last 16 of a major for the first time as a mother, Williams was all smiles.
“It’s really special to be here again. This time last year I was pregnant and I was having a tough time and then I had a tough birth so every match at this stage of my return is a bonus,” Williams, who suffered multiple complications following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia, said courtside.
Two days ago Williams, the owner of three Roland Garros trophies, had to come from a set and break down to defeat 17th seed Ashleigh Barty.
If that topsy-turvy performance had given Goerges hope that she could finish off a job that Barty could not — it did not take long for reality to sink in.
The woman who the rankings state is only the 451st best player in the world showed what she is made of as she rolled into the Paris fourth round for the 12th time.
Both Williams and Sharapova had met 21 times, since 2004 at the Miami Masters. Williams won, but Sharapova went on to beat Williams at Wimbledon and WTA championship of the same year. Since then, Williams had not lost any match to the Russian.