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What U.S.’ FIBA World Cup title means for Olympics

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The U.S. became the first nation to qualify for the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament by winning the FIBA World Cup title Sunday, but there are greater ramifications for Rio.

Twelve nations will make up the 2016 Olympic men’s basketball tournament. The U.S. is in. So is Brazil as the host nation, for all intents and purposes (it’s not official yet, as the qualifying procedures lay out).

The U.S.’ win over Serbia on Sunday was really a win for all of North and South America. Here’s why:

The next seven spots in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament will be determined in 2015 with continental qualifying tournaments — the winners of Africa, Asia and Oceania and the two finalists from Europe and the Americas (North and South America are combined into one tournament in basketball qualifying).

The caveat, for the Americas in particular, is that the qualifiers from the 2015 continental tournaments will be the best-placed, not-already-qualified nations.

So that means the two best nations from the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship will make the Olympics, excluding the U.S. and Brazil (again, assuming Brazil is in as the Olympic host nation).

This is the first time under the current qualifying system that the Olympic host nation and the FIBA champions are two countries from the Americas. It will be the first time since Atlanta 1996 that at least four nations from the Americas make the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Argentina, which won Olympic gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008, would appear to be a massive favorite to grab one of the two Olympic spots and join the U.S. and Brazil in Rio.

After that, it gets interesting.

Canada, under the tutelage of general manager Steve Nash, could earn its first trip to the Olympics since 2000 (when Nash played).

Canada was sixth at each of the last two FIBA Americas, failing to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, but it has a wealth of young talent, including the last two No. 1 picks in the NBA Draft — Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins — as well as 2014 first-round picks Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis and NBA big men Tristan ThompsonKelly OlynykRobert Sacre and Andrew Nicholson.

Other teams in the running include Puerto Rico, the only Americas team other than Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. to qualify for any of the last three Olympics. Puerto Rico beat the U.S. at the 2004 Athens Games. Puerto Ricans include current or former NBA players J.J. BareaCarlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman. Puerto Rico failed to reach the round of 16 at the FIBA World Cup.

The Dominican Republic and Mexico were eliminated in the round of 16 at the FIBA World Cup.

The Dominican Republic has never qualified for the Olympics, but it came oh-so close for 2012, finishing third at the 2011 FIBA Americas and fourth at the last-chance 2012 qualifying tournament. One spot higher in either would have earned a trip to London. The Dominican Republic team could include NBA All-Star Al Horford and former University of Louisville players Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa.

Mexico hosts the 2015 FIBA Americas, looking to make the Olympics for the first time in 40 years.

Of course, only two of Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can qualify for the Olympics through FIBA Americas. But they could all end up making the Olympics, because the third-through-fifth-place nations from the 2011 FIBA Americas earned spots in the aforementioned last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament the following year.

In 2012, the top three teams from the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament, which included countries from around the world, advanced to the London Olympics.

It’s likely that the nations favored to be top three in the last-chance tournament will be from Europe. The 2015 FIBA Europe Championship will be extremely competitive for its two Olympic spots, with Spain, France, Lithuania, Serbia leading the way.

Photos: Things Mutaz Barshim could jump over

*Correction: The original described Puerto Rico as “a nation,” which it is not.

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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