America’s Cup officials promise full investigation

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America’s Cup officials have promised a full investigation into the safety of their new sailing vessels after British Olympic gold medalist Andrew Simpson died Thursday amid an accident during team practice in San Francisco Bay.

Simpson became trapped beneath his crew’s 72-foot catamaran for ten minutes after the boat flipped and capsized in heavy winds. First responders were unable to revive Simpson once he was pulled from the boat’s wreckage.

America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay said he plans to find out exactly what happened Thursday to ensure the safety of his athletes in the future.

“Artemis Racing, Andrew, and his team were out there practicing,” Barclay told the London Telegraph. “They weren’t in event mode or anything like that so what we’ll be doing is reviewing the circumstances and try to understand exactly what happened and remove all the speculation to find out the facts.

“Then we’ll review what we’ve found and if there is a need to make changes, we’ll make them. But we won’t make a judgment now about what might happen in the future.”

The new boats, different than the single hulled vessels of the past, are built long, tall, and light to be sailed at incredible speeds.There’s been talk about safety problems with large catamarans for a couple years, and Team Origin principle Sir Keith Mills actually scrapped his plans of competing in 2011 out of fear that the boats were unsafe for his group, which in the past had included Simpson.

“Seeing what those boats were capable of – speeds of up to 40 knots – frightened the life out of me,” Mills admitted. “The class rules looked like they were dangerous boats to sail. At 40 knots, the control is minimal. Hit a big wave and that is it.”

After Team Oracle capsized amid similar conditions last October in San Francisco, Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena told the New York Times that it similar incidents were likely to happen because the boats were becoming too powerful. But Barclay doesn’t seem to assume much will change.

“As with high-performance sports, where athletes are pushing themselves in their craft to their limits, sometimes things go wrong,” Barclay concluded. “That’s the nature of what they do.”

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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