In what has become one of the big rivalries in women's Tennis over the years, the next part of the anticipated Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova rivalry won't be taking place. That's because just ahead of their impending matchup, Williams announced she would have to withdraw from the tournament due to injury. It leaves the field wide open now for someone else to take over the spot at the top and capture the big title.

Serena's latest injury

Serena Williams did what she usually does through the first three rounds of the French Open tournament, by surging past her opponents. Williams defeated Kristýna Plíšková in her opening round in straight sets.

She followed that with a victory over No. 17 Ashleigh Barty of Great Britain. In the third round, Serena was able to defeat No. 11 Julia Gorges in straight sets. Unfortunately, that will be the last of her tennis matches at the tournament this year.

Williams said during a Tuesday press conference that she has been experiencing an issue with her pectoral muscle. She mentioned that the injury has been getting progressively worse and won't allow her to "serve" properly, which is obviously an essential part of the game. She managed to play through it against her third-round opponent as well as in a doubles game where she paired up with her sister Venus. However, the issue seemed to be too much after the duo lost.

There's clearly some disappointment as Serena will not contend for her fourth French Open title.

However, there appears to be good news for Serena. Williams posted on her Instagram story that "the news is actually super exciting" as far as the tests she had done and her talk with her doctor. That's encouraging for the three-time French Open tournament winner.

Opponents' chances improve

That bad news for Serena Williams provides good news for Maria Sharapova who was set to face the No. 1 star in women's tennis in her fourth-round matchup. Over the years, Sharapova has had plenty of encounters with Williams but is just 2-19 in terms of her head-to-head record with one of tennis' all-time greats. That includes a loss at the Roland Garros finals back in 2013.

Sharapova will now take on Garbine Mugurza on Wednesday. As of the latest odds check at OddsChecker, Sharapova is still a slight underdog at +112.50 compared to a -120 moneyline price for Mugurza. Still, just based on the uphill battle that Sharapova usually has with Serena Williams, she has to be seeing this as a golden opportunity for herself.

Serena's exit has also opened up the potential for someone else to capture the French Open title this year. As of this report, Simona Halep was the favorite at 11 to 4, followed by Mugurza and Sloane Stephens at 7 to 2. Madison Keys and Maria Sharapova were 13 to 2 favorites to win the major title. Stephens and Keys will take on one another for the first all-American women's semifinal at the tournament in 16 years.

Williams is optimistic for the future

This will mark the first time that Williams has had to withdraw from a Grand Slam event. While it has to be devastating to be forced out of playing the sport one loves, Serena Williams has clearly learned to endure and persevere. She shared that message in an inspirational way in her latest Instagram post.

Williams has been hurt before and bounced back before. She also had made her big return to tennis following the important life event of 2017 when she gave birth via C-section to her first child, a daughter named Alexis Olympia Ohanian. For now, she will take some time to recover as another star gets her moment at the French Open 2018 [VIDEO] tournament.

Serena Williams will be back before fans know it, and when she does all opponents will certainly know what's in store for them -- one of the fiercest, most dominant tennis players to ever pick up a racket.