Scott Blackmun

USOC CEO: ‘We got a preview of what could happen’ (video)

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USOC CEO Scott Blackmun expressed concern but also confidence in Russia’s focus on Olympic security after two suicide bombings in a city 400 miles northeast of Sochi.

“I think this is the first time that we’ve had an incident so close to the Games, both in terms of geography and in terms of time,” Blackmun said on TODAY on Tuesday morning. “The reality is that there are different challenges at every Games. In this case we got a preview of what could happen, but we’re very hopeful that the Russians’ commitment to security, which is, frankly, one of the highest levels of commitment we’ve ever seen from a government and an organizing committee, will serve us well.”

More than 30 people were killed in explosions Sunday and Monday in Volgograd, a city of more than one million people about 400 miles northeast of Sochi.

A National Security Council spokeswoman said the U.S. would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation with Russian forces for the safety of everyone at the Olympics, which begin Feb. 6.

“The truth is that our interests are probably more aligned with Russia’s on this issue than any other,” Blackmun said. “So we have a fairly high degree of confidence that they are super focused on the issue right now.”

Blackmun said the U.S. Olympic Committee has contingency plans at every Games, for injuries and for incidents.

“There’s no question that it’s heightened everyone’s awareness,” Blackmun said. “We take security very seriously. Each Games presents a different kind of challenge for us, but the events of the last 48 hours have definitely gotten our attention.”

The Volgograd bombings reminded Blackmun of a recent conversation about the Olympic park in Sochi.

“Balance is exactly the right word,” Blackmun said. “It was funny. A few weeks ago, we were talking about the fact that it was going to be difficult to get in and out of the park. And I suspect that people are going to be a lot more tolerant of that today than they might have been two or three weeks ago.”

Gold medalist to skip Sochi Olympics if safety problems worsen

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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