Passport to RG, Day 4—Serena Williams withdraws; Azarenka soon falls – Tennis Magazine

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Passport to RG, Day 4—Serena Williams withdraws; Azarenka soon ousted

Also on Wednesday, Alexander Zverev once again anchors the day’s play on Court Philippe Chatrier, with Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Jannik Sinner all featuring in a late batch of matches.


From first ball to last, keep up to date with the latest from Roland Garros every day on We’ll have match updates, photos, video highlights and more in our daily notebook: Passport to RG. 

Serena on her Achilles injury, future outlook

After taking a short warmup, Serena Williams and coach Patrick Mouratoglou mutually decided it wasn’t in the 23-time major champion’s best interest to play. Here’s what Serena had to say about the decision and the seriousness of her Achilles injury, which first flared up in the US Open semifinals.

“I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing, at least two weeks of just sitting down, and then from after that two weeks I have been told that I need to start doing a little training.”

“This is not a nagging injury. This is an acute injury. So if it was my knee, that would be more really devastating for me. But this is something that just happened, and it’s super acute. That’s totally different. I feel like my body is actually doing really, really well. I just ran into, for lack of a better word, bad timing and bad luck, really, in New York.”

Anisimova breezes through… Act II with Halep to come?; Korda topples Isner

Top seed Simona Halep was a popular pre-tournament pick to win Roland Garros, and it’s understandable why given her 15-match win streak. But Amanda Anisimova might have something to say about that if the Romanian advances later today after the American defeated the 2018 winner in the quarterfinals a year ago.

Moved last-minute to Chatrier, Anisimova needed just 57 minutes to overwhelm countrywoman Bernarda Pera. The left-hander actually broke to start the match, and held two game points for a chance to consolidate. That didn’t happen and Anisimova would take complete control in winning 58 percent of her return points.

In another match full of stars and stripes, 20-year-old Sebastian Korda knocked out top-ranked American John Isner, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Korda won 57 percent of his second serve points to Isner’s 43 percent success rate en route to the third round.

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Wawrinka, Fritz progress into round three

The 2015 men’s winner dropped a set, but it hardly mattered in the end. Stan Wawrinka is safely through to the third round after getting past Dominik Koepfer, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Wawrinka, in the same 1/16th of the draw as two-time finalist Dominic Thiem, advanced to the quarterfinals last year. The 35-year-old is looking to reach the second week in Paris for the ninth time in 11 years.

American Taylor Fritz achieved his best result at Roland Garros by brushing aside Radu Albot, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Fritz dictated from start to finish, firing 41 winners to 28 unforced errors in the process.

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UPSET ALERT: Azarenka ousted by Schmiedlova

Before the tournament began, many anticipated a potential round-of-16 showdown between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. Neither, as it would turn out, would get to that stage.

After Williams withdrew prior to her second-round match with an Achilles injury, Azarenka joined her in exiting the Paris major. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova dismissed the recent US Open finalist, 6-2, 6-2, to break open the second quarter of the draw that features Elina Svitolina, Elise Mertens and home hopeful Caroline Garcia among others. The Slovakian was not broken, saving five break points.

Schmiedlova, who also beat Venus Williams to snap a 12-match losing streak on the major stage, meets qualifier Nadia Podoroska next. The Argentine eliminated No. 23 seed Yulia Putintseva, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

WATCH: Errani can’t stop this feeling (in France, France, France)

Former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani served for her first set against fifth seed Kiki Bertens at 6-5, but could not find her ball toss. Repeat catches lead to her second time violation, resulting in the loss of a point. Errani’s struggles continued on the next point, and she finally gave up by throwing in an underarm serve, which Bertens appropriately countered with a drop shot winner. The Dutchwoman went on to break and claim the tiebreaker, 7-6 (5).

Svitolina survives in three; Wawrinka looking good; Azarenka in trouble

After being served a bagel in the second set, No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina recovered to hold off a stiff challenge from Renata Zarazua, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, in one hour and 35 minutes.

Stan Wawrinka has opened up a 6-3, 4-0 lead against Rome quarterfinalist Dominik Koepfer. Wawrinka triumphed at this event five years ago for his second of three majors.

Elsewhere, 10th seed Victoria Azarenka dropped her opening set to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, 6-2. Schmiedlova, who topped Venus Williams in the first round, saved both break points she faced in taking a one-set lead. With Serena Williams out, their quarter has opened up tremendously.

BREAKING: Serena Williams pulls out

Major title No. 24 will not happen for Serena Williams in Paris, as the American has withdrawn from her second-round match with Tsvetana Pironkova with an Achilles injury.

“I felt like I needed to walk with a limp. I had to focus on walking straight,” she told press. “I think the Achilles is a real injury you don’t want to play with.”

About 4-6 weeks of recovery, added Serena, with two weeks of pure rest. She doesn’t expect to play any more tournaments in 2020.

We will continue to update this as the story unfolds.

An all-American match between 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova and Bernarda Pera will be moved to second on Chatrier as a result.

Zarazua posts bagel on Svitolina to force decider

What a turnaround! Renata Zarazua has pushed No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina to a third set after hitting back with a dominant 6-0 performance in the second, breaking three times from 10 opportunities. Svitolina’s forehand in particular, found the net often. She sprayed 16 unforced errors while finding just two winners.

Svitolina wins first set; tarps come off

Renata Zarazua settled in to get on the board, and got one break back with some nifty feel around the court. But Elina Svitolina stayed the course, breaking the Mexican for a third time to close out the opening set, 6-3. A relatively clean set for the No. 3 seed, which six winners and unforced errors apiece.

Play looks likely to begin around the rest of the grounds, with the tarps being pulled off.

Rain delays start of play outside

The roof is closed on Chatrier for the first match between 2018 WTA Finals champion Svitolina and Zarazua, as rain has prevented any other matches from getting on. Svitolina has raced to a 3-0, double break lead in just 10 minutes.

Names on schedule tee up #WinningWednesday 

Another day, another exciting lineup in Paris.

Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, third seed Elina Svitolina and 2015 men’s champion Stan Wawrinka all take the court in the opening slate of second-round matches. In a US Open quarterfinal rematch, 23-time major champion Serena Williams aims to go two for two against Tsvetana Pironkova, while US Open winner Dominic Thiem looks to keep things rolling against qualifier Jack Sock, one of six American men taking the court Wednesday.

Down the line, 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal battles Mackenzie McDonald and 2018 women’s titlist Simona Halep takes on countrywoman Irina-Camelia Begu. Alexander Zverev once again anchors the day’s play on Court Philippe-Chatrier, with Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Jannik Sinner also featuring in a late batch of matches.

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