PARIS: Serena Williams suffered another blow in her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title as the American withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday with an Achilles injury, while 12-time champion Rafael Nadal raced into the third round.
The 39-year-old Williams, a three-time winner at Roland Garros, pulled out ahead of her second round match against Tsvetana Pironkova citing the injury that prompted her to skip the Rome tune-up event.
“The Achilles didn’t have enough time to heal after the US Open,” said Williams, who admitted last week she was not fully fit after her run to the semi-finals in New York. “I’m struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a telltale sign that I should try to recover.”
The injury likely means she will miss the rest of 2020, leaving the Australian Open in 2021 as her next chance to equal Margaret Court’s all-time majors record.
Her decision to pull out handed Pironkova a walkover and left Williams searching for a first major since the last of her 23 titles at Melbourne in 2017.
Nadal looked in ominous form as he stepped up his pursuit of Roger Federer’s 20 major titles with a crushing win over 236th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald.
The Spaniard batted aside McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 in exactly 100 minutes and will meet Japan’s Kei Nishikori or Stefano Travaglia of Italy for a spot in the last 16.
The 34-year-old needs one more major to pull level with long-time rival Federer and owns an astonishing 95-2 record in Paris going back to his triumph on debut in 2005.
Top seed and women’s favourite Simona Halep goes up against compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu as she targets a second French Open crown in three years.
US Open champion Dominic Thiem swept into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory over American qualifier Jack Sock, saving three set points to close out the match.
The Austrian third seed will play Norway’s Casper Ruud, seeded 28th, or American Tommy Paul for a place in the last 16.
Dutch fifth seed Kiki Bertens had to be taken off court in a wheelchair after a fiery win over former finalist Sara Errani.
Bertens triumphed 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 9-7 in a three-hour 11-minute clash which left her in cramps and Italian Errani screaming an obscenity as she left the court.
Bertens is due to meet Katerina Siniakova next while Elina Svitolina overcame Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.
The Ukrainian third seed is coming off a title at Strasbourg last week and will next play Russian 27th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, but was briefly taken aback by a sonic boom.
The thunderous noise that panicked residents of Paris was caused by a French fighter jet that broke the sound barrier. The military said the plane had been scrambled to go to the aid of another aircraft that had lost radio contact, and was authorised to travel at supersonic speed.
Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open winner, followed up his demolition of Andy Murray with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 defeat of Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.
Sebastian Korda, the son of 1992 Roland Garros runner-up and 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, also progressed after a four-sets victory over fellow American John Isner.
Results on Wednesday (prefix number denotes seeding):
Second round: 27-Taylor Fritz (US) bt Radu Albot (Moldova) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4; Norbert Gombos (Slovakia) bt Jurij Rodionov (Austria) 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; 12-Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) bt Lorenzo Giustino (Italy) 6-1, 7-5, 6-0; 16-Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) bt Dominik Koepfer (Germany) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1; Hugo Gaston (France) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-2; 3-Dominic Thiem (Austria) bt Jack Sock (US) 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6;) Pedro Martinez (Spain) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) 6-3, 6-1, 6-0; Sebastian Korda (US) bt 21-John Isner (US) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; 2-Rafael Nadal (Spain) bt Mackenzie McDonald (US) 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.
Second round: 25-Amanda Anisimova (US) bt Bernarda Pera (US) 6-2, 6-0; Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) bt Daria Gavrilova (Australia) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; Iga Swiatek (Poland) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) 6-1, 6-4; Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) 6-3, 6-4; 50Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) bt Sara Errani (Italy) 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 9-7; 3-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) bt Renata Zarazua (Mexico) 6-3, 0-6, 6-2; 27-Ekaterina Alexandrova (Russia) bt Astra Sharma (Australia) 6-3, 6-3; Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) bt 10-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) 6-2, 6-2; Nadia Podoroska (Argentina) bt 23-Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2; Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) bt 32-Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) bt 6-Serena Williams (US) — by walkover.
Tuesday’s remaining results:
Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) bt Hugo Dellien (Bolivia) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; 10-Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) bt Richard Gasquet (France) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-1; Attila Balazs (Hungary) bt Yasutaka Uchiyama (Japan) 6-2, 6-3, 7-5; Marcos Giron (US) bt Quentin Halys (France) 7-5, 3-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 8-6; Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) bt 31-Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2; 13-Andrey Rublev (Russia) bt Sam Querrey (US) 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3; 9-Denis Shapovalov (Canada) bt Gilles Simon (France) 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3; Roberto Carballes Baena (Spain) bt Steve Johnson (US) 6-1, 6-1, 6-0; Andrej Martin (Slovakia) bt Joao Sousa (Portugal) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2; 18-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) bt Gregoire Barrere (France) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) bt Henri Laaksonen (Switzerland) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; 5-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) bt Jaume Munar (Spain) 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
First round: 8-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) bt Jessica Pegula (US) 6-3, 6-1; Darya Kasatkina (Russia) bt Harmony Tan (France) 6-2, 6-1; 30-Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) bt Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Fiona Ferro (France) bt Heather Watson (Great Britain) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; 13-Petra Martic (Croatia) bt Misaki Doi (Japan) 7-6 (7-2), 7-5; Veronika Kudermetova (Russia) bt Pauline Parmentier (France) 6-2, 6-3; Julia Goerges (Germany) bt 19-Alison Riske (US) 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1; 29-Sloane Stephens (US) bt Vitalia Diatchenko (Russia) 6-2, 6-2; Paula Badosa (Spain) bt Kateryna Kozlova (Ukraine) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020