PARIS-Serena Williams suffered another blow in her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title as the American withdrew from Roland Garros 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 semifinals in New York. “I’m struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a telltale sign that I should try to recover.” 

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 aim was to play as well as possible. I’m very happy. I have another difficult match next,” said Nadal. 

French Open top seed Simona Halep put in a disciplined performance to tame big-hitting compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 in the second round, extending her winning run to 16 matches. Halep jumped to a 3-0 lead on Court Suzanne Lenglen but Begu got the set back on serve before Halep broke again in the eighth game before holding serve to win the set. Begu hit seven more winners than the 2018 champion but also had 15 more unforced errors, and a second break was enough for Halep to secure the second set. 

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. 

Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 Roland Garros 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.