The first day of the inaugural Olympic team figure skating competition in Sochi wasn’t ideal for Team USA.
Jeremy Abbott finished seventh after a short program that saw him fall on the opening jump. On the other end of the spectrum, Yuzuru Hanyu scored a 97.98 in his short program to earn first place and ten points overall for Japan, while Russian hero Yevgeny Plushenko finished second with a score of 91.39 – much to the delight of the home crowd, who ate up the performance from the 2006 Olympic champion.
With Abbott’s rough outing, the pressure was firmly on the pairs duo of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (pictured) to make up ground for the Americans. They managed to earn a season-best score of 64.25 despite a bobble on side-by-side triple Salchows and finished fifth. The reigning world pairs champions, Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, finished first by a margin of more than 10 points over Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.
After two events, Russia sits atop the overall team standings while the U.S. is in a three-way tie for fifth place alongside France and Germany. The competition continues on Saturday morning with the women’s short programs, short dance, and pairs’ free skate. Once all short programs are completed, only the top five teams will advance to the free skate portion.
TEAM FIGURE SKATING – STANDINGS (AFTER TWO EVENTS)
1. Russia – 19
2. Canada – 17
3. China – 15
4. Japan – 13
T-5. Germany – 10
T-5. France – 10
T-5. United States – 10
8. Italy – 8
9. Ukraine – 5
10. Great Britain – 3
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.