PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - Serena Williams will face her old rival Maria Sharapova for the first time in nearly 2-1/2 years in Monday’s highly-anticipated French Open fourth-round match on Monday.
Sharapova’s quarter-final defeat by Williams at the 2016 Australian Open was the last competitive match the Russian played for 15 months after she received a doping ban while American Williams was on a maternity break for most of 2017.
Williams holds a 19-2 head to head advantage over twice French Open champion Sharapova, who showed signs of rediscovering her best form in a straight-sets victory over sixth seeded Karolina Pliskova in the third round.
World number one Simona Halep, chasing a maiden Grand Slam title, will open play on Court Philippe Chatrier against Belgian Elise Mertens.
Halep dropped just three games during her only previous meeting with Mertens in the Madrid Open second round last month.
In the men’s draw, 10-times winner Rafa Nadal will meet German Maximilian Marterer for the first time in his career.
Third seed Marin Cilic is up against wily Italian Fabio Fognini and fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro takes on big-serving American John Isner.
Order of play on the main showcourts (all matches fourth round unless stated, times GMT, prefix numbers denote seeding):
Court Philippe Chatrier (play starts at 0900)
1-Simona Halep (Romania) v 16-Elise Mertens (Belgium)
1-Rafael Nadal (Spain) v Maximilian Marterer (Germany)
Serena Williams (U.S.) v 28-Maria Sharapova (Russia)
3-Marin Cilic (Croatia) v 18-Fabio Fognini (Italy)
Court Suzanne Lenglen (play starts at 0900)
11-Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) v 6-Kevin Anderson (South Africa)
12-Angelique Kerber (Germany) v 7-Caroline Garcia (France)
9-John Isner (U.S.) v 5-Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)
3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain) v Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)