Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova was named an alternate for Russia’s team for next month’s European Championships, putting her chances of competing at the World Championships — or anywhere — later this season in doubt.
Sotnikova, who in Sochi became the first woman to win Olympic gold with zero World Championships medals, has not performed in top-level international competition since the Winter Games.
She pulled out of her two Grand Prix series assignments this fall and last week’s Russian Championships after tearing an ankle ligament in early November.
The Russian team for the European Championships — Jan. 29-31 in Stockholm — includes the gold and silver medalists from the Russian Championships, Yelena Radionova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, as well as Anna Pogorilaya, who finished fourth at last season’s Worlds.
Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov were also named alternates for Europeans. They missed the Grand Prix season and Russian Championships after Trankov suffered a shoulder injury.
Yulia Lipnitskaya, the star of the Sochi Olympic team event, finished ninth at the Russian Championships, capping a disappointing season.
The three-woman Russian team for the World Championships in March is expected to be named after Europeans.
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.