Injured Takahashi, defending champion, out of Grand Prix Final

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Japan has lost one home favorite for the Grand Prix Final next week, but gained another.

Reigning Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi pulled out of the season-ending event, set to begin Dec. 5 in Fukuoka, Japan. He will be replaced by countryman Nobunari Oda, the AFP reported.

Just six skaters compete at the Grand Prix Final, which is made up of the top finishers from the Grand Prix circuit in October and November.

Reigning and three-time world champion Patrick Chan leads the field, along with Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida, Maksim Kovtun of Russia and China’s Yan Han.

Takahashi, who was fourth at Skate America last month before storming back for gold at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo three weeks ago, is suffering from a bruise on his right shin, discovered on Tuesday, and will need two weeks to recover from the injury.

The 27-year-old Takahashi was world champion in 2010 and the defending champion at the Grand Prix Final, which he has won a medal at in five of seven years, dating back to 2006.

“I will try to guide myself positively and face up to this situation without looking away from it,” the AFP reported Takahashi saying, who has plans to retire after the Sochi Olympics in February.

Takahashi, Hanyu, Machida and Oda are competing for three Olympic spots for Japan, which holds its national championships Dec. 21-23.

Mao Asada, the reigning Olympic silver medalists, leads the ladies’ field heading into the Grand Prix Final, which also features four Russian teenagers.

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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