Jenn Suhr

American Suhr aims to calm Isinbayeva mania in Moscow

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Jenn Suhr, the Olympic pole vault champion, felt anxious for months leading up to the World Championships. The prospect of facing two-time Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva, in Isinbayeva’s home country, in Isinbayeva’s last competition, was unsettling, even after defeating her at the London Games.

Then Suhr flew across the Atlantic, got off the airplane and saw something in Moscow that calmed her considerably.

“A billboard of myself,” she said. “It made me realize it’s a great opportunity.”

The women’s pole vault final at Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday (11:35 a.m. Eastern time, Universal Sports coverage starts at noon) is not solely the Isinbayeva show, despite the recent flurry of Russian headlines.

World Track and Field Championships broadcast schedule

The diva of pole vaulting announced in July that was ready to retire.

“My career will finish 100 percent at the World Championships,” she told R-Sport at the time. “For me it will be a nostalgic moment, I should get pleasure from the performance, and I will try to show the best I can.”

Isinbayeva, 31, backtracked a bit Sunday, though.

“I’m not ending my career … I’ll start a family, I’ll give birth and I’ll try and return and reclaim all my gold medals,” she told R-Sport. “If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll announce my retirement. Right now I’m not leaving. I’m taking another break because I want to have children. I’ll definitely miss the next season, and after that we’ll see.”

Suhr ended Isinbayeva’s reign at the Olympics. The Russian had broken the world record 17 times since 2003 and won two Olympics, two outdoor world championships and four indoor world championships in between.

Suhr cried before the final in London, but listened to a pre-competition pep talk from coach and husband Rick Suhr, who followed up his usual “Saving Private Ryan” line — “I’ll see you on the beach” — with a confident, “You’re going to win this.”

The gold-medal favorite Tuesday may be neither Suhr nor Isinbayeva. Enter Cuban Yarisley Silva, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist. She owns the five highest jumps of 2013, including one at 4.90 meters, a personal best that would have bettered Suhr in London.

Suhr, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, became the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic title since Stacy Dragila in the first Olympic women’s pole vault in 2000.

Her post-Olympic highlights included pole vaulting in awkward settings — a golf course and in a fieldhouse at a Buffalo Bills game. It’s not out of the ordinary for the Rochester, N.Y., native, who has been known to train in Quonset huts.

The setting in Moscow will also be unique with Isinbayeva mania, but Suhr is now ready for the occasion.

“This is one of the first meets ever that you’ll have three of the top women ever have jumped,” she said. “It’s exciting to be involved in.”

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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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, results

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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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