Collegiate Rugby Championships

Collegiate Rugby Championships set for this weekend

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The newest Olympic sport will be showcased at the Collegiate Rugby Championships in Philadelphia this weekend.

It’s possible that some of the players in the 20-school tournament could be part of the first U.S. Olympic Rugby Sevens Team, should the U.S. qualify for the Rio 2016 Games.

“Once people see the sport, it becomes pretty compelling despite whether or not people know the laws of the game just yet,” said NBC Sports rugby sevens analyst Brian Hightower, a former U.S. National Team captain. “There’s just so much sheer athleticism, a lot of contact, also a lot of skill and open running. It’s a pretty dynamic game.”

Hightower said at least three players from last year’s Collegiate Rugby Championships are in the U.S. National Team player pool already.

California, historically the most successful program in the traditional 15-per-side rugby union, won its first national sevens title last year after being upset by Utah in the tournament’s debut in 2010 and taking third in 2012. Dartmouth captured titles in 2011 and 2012.

Cal and Dartmouth are among the favorites out of 20 schools split into five groups that will play round-robin games Saturday (games consist of seven-minute halves and a two-minute halftime). The five group winners plus the top three second-place teams advance to the championship knockout rounds Sunday, with the final later at 5:29 p.m. ET.

Players to watch include Cal captain Seamus Kelly and Dartmouth’s Madison Hughes. who already have U.S. National Team caps.

Here’s the broadcast schedule:

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra, 3-4:30 p.m. ET
NBCSN and Live Extra, 4:30-6
Comcast Network, 6-8

NBCSN, 2-4 p.m. ET
NBC and Live Extra, 4-6

“Every year this tournament gets a little bit bigger,” Hightower said. “It really has kind of signaled the growth of the game as it reaches toward the Olympics.”

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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.

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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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