Shannon Szabados

Shannon Szabados joins men’s pro hockey team

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Shannon Szabados got a call from a Southern Professional Hockey League team on Thursday. The message?

Suit up for the Columbus Cottonmouths.

“I haven’t told anyone this yet, but I got a call today from a team in the Southern Professional Hockey League to go play there for the rest of the season,” Szabados told Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio Thursday night. “I might be a step ahead of myself, but who knows, I might be in the U.S. starting next week.”

Sure enough …

Canada’s No. 1 women’s goalie is set to play in a men’s professional league. Szabados, 27, practiced with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday as the NHL team was short on goalies after trades.

The Cottonmouths have eight games left in the regular season, beginning Friday and wrapping March 22.

Szabados started the last two Olympic gold-medal games, winning both, and was statistically the best goalie in Sochi. Szabados played with boys growing up in junior hockey since age 5 and then with men at the university level as recently as last year.

Canadian 1998 Olympic goalie Manon Rheaume is the only woman to play in the NHL, doing so in exhibition games. Other women’s players have played in non-NHL men’s pro leagues, such as Angela Ruggiero and Hayley Wickenheiser.

Hockey Hall of Fame opens Olympic display

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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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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