Achilles Injury Forces Serena Williams Out of The French Open

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  • Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday.
  • The 39-year old cited a recurring Achilles injury for pulling out of her second round match against Tsvetana Pironkova
  • Top-seeded Simona Halep is the betting favorite to win the French Open at +175.

Margaret Court’s record is safe, for now, as Serena Williams withdrew from the 2020 French Open with an Achilles injury.

The sudden announcement came about an hour before her second round match against Tsvetana Pironkova at Court Philippe Chartier. Pironkova, who lost to Williams at the quarterfinals of the recent U.S. Open, will go straight through the third round of the French Open via walkover.

As for Williams, it’s yet another setback in her quest to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 women’s singles grand slam titles won in the open era. Williams has been stuck at 23 and despite reaching the finals in four out of the last six Grand Slams, the record has been elusive.

Likely Her Last Tournament of The Year

The 39-year old Williams said that she made the decision to withdraw after feeling like she was moving with a limp. She also said that her injury will likely need two weeks of rest and four weeks of recovery. The 23-time Grand Slam winner added that she “more than likely” will not play another tournament this year.

Earlier this month at the U.S. Open, she made the semifinals before losing 1-6, 6-3-6-3 to Victoria Azarenka. It was in the third set of that match where she stretched her Achilles and clutched her left leg. At that point she asked for a trainer and needed a medical timeout. Williams continued playing but lost.

In next tournament, the same injury forced Williams to withdraw from the Italian Open. On Wednesday, she called the injury “bad timing and bad luck”. It also means that she will resume her quest for Grand Slam number 24 at the 2021 Australia Open, which is currently scheduled for January next year.

So Near Yet So Far

With Williams’ withdrawal, Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles won is safe, at least for now. Serena has won 23 grand slams and has been looking to tie Court’s mark since the 2017 Australian Open. She’s come close several times but that 24th grand slam has been so near yet so far for Williams.

Williams’ departure also ends a streak of 13 successive years of making at least one grand slam finals, coming up one year short of Chris Evert’s all-time record of 14 years. The latter appeared in at least one grand slam finals from 1973-1986.

This is Williams’ earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament since 2014 when she lost in the second round in Paris. It is also the second time in her career where she has withdrawn from a Grand Slam tournament. Williams withdrew from the 2018 French Open, prior to her fourth round match against Maria Sharapova due to a pulled chest muscle.

French Open Odds

With Williams pulling out and Victoria Azarenka upset by world no. 161 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the second round, two out of the top four betting favorites prior to the start of the French Open are out. Consequently, odds on favorite Simona Halep and second favorite Garbine Muguruza have seen their odds shorten.

Halep was pegged at +250 prior to the start of the tournament but with two threats out this early, she is now a +175 at BetOnline. The top-seeded Halep edged compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in the second round. Halep will face no. 25 seed Amanda Anisimova who ended Halep’s French Open title defense last year.

Meanwhile, the 11th Muguruza has gone from +700 before the French Open to a +600 entering her second round match against Kristyna Pliskova. The former French Open champion survived a three-set and three-hour first round affair against Tamara Zidansek. She is a -336 to beat Pliskova in round two.

Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher.