Kohei Uchimura‘s bid for a fourth straight world all-around title is looking pretty favorable after the first day of qualifying at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Monday.
The Japanese Olympic champion led his closest competitor — U.S. all-around champion Sam Mikulak — by more than two points after three of four groups of men. The last group goes Tuesday. The top 24 from qualification (maximum two per country) advance to the final Thursday (2 p.m., Universal Sports).
Uchimura, 24, scored 91.924 points in qualifying, bettering Mikulak’s 89.532. But those scores are wiped out for the final, where everyone starts from scratch. Uchimura aims to become the first gymnast — male or female — to win four world all-around titles.
Several U.S. men are currently in qualifying position for event finals, which pit the top eight qualifiers for each apparatus (maximum two per country) and are split over Saturday and Sunday.
Brandon Wynn had the top score on still rings (15.7). Jake Dalton is fifth on floor exercise and sixth on vault. John Orozco is sixth on parallel bars. Mikulak is near the bubble on floor and parallel bars (seventh) and likely safe to make top eight on high bar (fourth). They all must wait for the final qualification group to go Tuesday.
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.
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.