The complexion of the women's singles draw at the 2020 French Open was significantly altered Wednesday.
Victoria Azarenka fell in straight sets and Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament due to an injury. That section of the women's bracket also lost Yulia Putintseva and Barbora Strycova, which guarantees at least one unseeded woman will advance to the fourth round.
With Azarenka and Williams out of the tournament, No. 1 seed Simona Halep has an easier path to reach the final at Roland Garros.
Halep is one of seven seeded players still alive in the top half of the women's bracket and only five can make it to the fourth round. Halep plays in one of the two third round ranked matchups against Amanda Anisimova.
At the bottom half of the men's singles draw, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem cruised in straight-set victories to move a step closer to a potential semifinal showdown.
Alexander Zverev had a more difficult time on the Paris clay Wednesday, but he managed to survive a five-set thriller to stay alive as a potential spoiler to a Nadal-Thiem semifinal.
Top Men's Results
No. 2 Rafael Nadal def. Mackenzie McDonald, 6-1, 6-0, 6-3
No. 3 Dominic Thiem def. Jack Sock, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
No. 6 Alexander Zverev def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4
No. 12 Diego Schwartzman def. Lorenzo Giustino, 6-1, 7-5, 6-0
No. 16 Stanislas Wawrinka def. Dominik Koepfer, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Sebastian Korda def. No. 21 John Isner, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Federico Coria def. No. 23 Benoit Paire, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 27 Taylor Fritz def. Radu Albot, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
No. 28 Capser Ruud def. Tommy Paul, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
Nadal and Thiem combined to lose five games in their first two sets against Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Jack Sock.
Nadal continued to cruise in his third set by breaking McDonald on a pair of occasions and winning 12 of 14 points on his first serve.
Thiem needed a few extra points in the third-set tiebreak to put away Sock, who won two of the three break points he forced against the third-seeded Austrian.
Most of the match statistics were fairly even, but the one difference Thiem carved out was on second serve. The 2020 US Open champion won 66 percent of his second-serve points compared to Sock's 43 percent.
At the moment, Thiem holds the edge in time on court compared to Zverev, who needed five sets to take care of Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The fifth-seeded German did not look great in the opening set, as he was broken twice and converted 60 percent of his first-serve points.
Zverev appeared to be on the path to a four-set triumph, but his progress was halted by another 6-4 set victory out of Herbert.
The US Open semifinalist eventually prevailed in a fifth set that featured five breaks of serve and 25 unforced errors.
The other five-set match in the men's draw Wednesday was much faster, as No. 28 Casper Ruud beat American Tommy Paul in two hours and 36 minutes. Zverev was on the court for close to four hours.
Although Nadal, Thiem and Zverev are the favorites to make it out of the bottom half, Diego Schwartzman has to be considered as a sleeper pick.
The 12th-seeded Argentinian has won five sets by three or more games and breezed through his second-round match against Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino.
Top Women's Results
No. 1 Simona Halep def. Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 Evina Svitolina def. Renata Zarazua, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
No. 5 Kiki Bertens def. Sara Errani, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 9-7
Tsvetana Pironkova def. No. 6 Serena Williams, Walkover
Anna Schmiedlova def. No. 10 Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 6-2
No. 16 Elise Mertens def. Kaia Kanepi, 6-4, 7-5
No. 20 Maria Sakkari def. Kamilla Rakhimova, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2
Nadia Podoroska def. No. 23 Yuila Putintseva, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
No. 25 Amanda Anisimova def. Bernarda Pera, 6-2, 6-0
No. 27 Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Astra Sharma, 6-3, 6-3
Barbora Krejcikova def. No. 32 Barbora Strycova, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Halep extended her winning streak to 16 matches with the easiest victory from any of the top title contenders Wednesday.
The top-seeded Romanian dispatched of Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets to remain perfect on the Paris clay.
Halep was efficient on her first serve by winning 80 percent of the points in that aspect of her game. She also took six of her 10 second-serve points.
The 2018 winner at Roland Garros won half of her receiving points, a total that was significantly better than Begu's 29 percent.
Halep and her third-round opponent Anisimova are two of four seeded women to win all four sets through the first two rounds.
No. 20 Maria Sakkari and No. 27 Ekaterina Alexandrova are the other two women with perfect marks.
Alexandrova will face No. 3 Evina Svitolina, who recovered from a second-set shutout to beat qualifier Renata Zarazua.
Svitolina struggled on her first serve in the second set, as she won 35 percent of those points. She won three points off Zarazua's serve in her only set loss of the tournament.
The third-seeded Ukrainian responded by winning 11 of 15 first-serve points and 13 of 19 receiving points to capture the third set.
No. 5 Kiki Bertens also went to three sets, but her finish against Sara Errani was a bit more dramatic.
Azarenka was not as successful in her push to force a third set Wednesday. She fell 6-2, 6-2 to Anna Schmiedlova.
With Azarenka's defeat and Williams' withdraw, none of the US Open semifinalists are left at Roland Garros. Naomi Osaka did not enter the draw and Jennifer Brady lost Tuesday.
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Statistics obtained from RolandGarros.com.