Justin Gatlin wins 200m at U.S. Championships in another personal best

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Justin Gatlin won the 200 meters in a personal-best 19.57 seconds at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on Sunday, cementing his favorite status over Usain Bolt in the 100m and 200m for August’s World Championships.

“When I was in the warm-up area, I was like, you know, let’s go out here and make a statement,” Gatlin said on USATF.TV, adding in a separate interview, “A lot of people were asking what could I run if I ran through the finish line.”

Gatlin, 33 and five years removed from a four-year doping ban, became the fifth fastest all time in the event with his victory. Those faster are Bolt (19.19), Yohan Blake (19.26), Michael Johnson (19.32) and Walter Dix (19.53).

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion, was the world’s fastest man in the 100m and the 200m in 2014 and is again this year. Bolt’s fastest 200m time in his three races since the 2013 World Championships is 20.13 from May 26.

Gatlin’s win Sunday came over training partner Isiah Young, who clocked 19.93, and two-time Olympian Wallace Spearmon, who ran 20.10 (race video here). They’re all going to the World Championships in Beijing from Aug. 22-30.

Full U.S. Championships results | U.S. qualifiers for World Championships

The University of Oregon’s Jenna Prandini captured the women’s 200m in 22.20, followed by Candyce McGrone and Jeneba Tarmoh (race video here). They’ll join Olympic champion Allyson Felix on the Worlds team in that event.

The most story-filled final of the day in Eugene, Ore., was the women’s 800m. Alysia Montano won her sixth U.S. outdoor title in 1:59.15 (race video here), one year after she finished last in her first-round heat at the U.S. Championships in 2:32.13 — while seven months pregnant.

“We didn’t even have Nationals on the radar,” an astonished Montano told Lewis Johnson on NBC, while holding 10-month-old daughter Linnea, adding later on USATF.TV, “We really wanted to take the postpartum journey slow.”

Montano said she ran/walked five miles (in 80 minutes) on her due date last year and is 30 pounds lighter at this year’s U.S. Championships than at the 2014 meet.

“I really wanted for my daughter to see her mom put her best foot forward,” Montano told media in Eugene. “Yeah, she’s not going to remember [Sunday’s race], but there will be plenty of video for her to be like, oh, I was there.”

World bronze medalist Brenda Martinez finished second to Montano. Ajee’ Wilson, the world’s fastest 800m runner in 2014 and second fastest this year, grabbed the third and final Worlds spot by .04 over Molly Ludlow while running with one shoe on. Wilson lost her right shoe near the start of the final curve with 200 meters to go, saying she got clipped.

“I didn’t really have time to think,” Wilson told media in Eugene. “It kind of was halfway on, so I wiggled it off.”

Nick Symmonds, who has rarely raced since he won 2013 Worlds silver, took the men’s 800m in 1:44.53, coming back from being way off the pace on the final lap (race video here).

“This time last year I was on my couch, watching this meet and seriously considering retirement,” Symmonds, 31 and a two-time Olympian, said on USATF.TV. “I know that I have at least one more year left in me.”

Duane Solomon, the 2012 Olympic fourth-place finisher who predicted before the race he’d go out so fast — “the Twilight Zone” — that he’d probably be on world-record pace through 600 meters, led coming around the final curve but faded to a walk and finished eighth in 3:08.74.

“The last 100, I just could not control my body at all,” Solomon told media in Eugene. “I was almost blacking out. … I had nothing left. I could barely even walk to the [finish] line.”

World champion David Oliver, who already had a bye into Worlds, won the 110m hurdles in 13.04 seconds (race video here), his fastest time since he won the 2013 World title in 13.00. He’ll be joined on the Worlds team by Ronnie Ash, Olympic champion Aries Merritt and Aleec Harris.

The 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson, who also already had a bye into Worlds, ran the 1500m final anyway and easily prevailed in 4:14.86 (race video here). Shannon Rowbury, also a Worlds medal contender, finished second. Mary Cain, who in 2013 became the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to make a World Championships team at age 17, was eighth, missing the Worlds team.

Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won the pole vault by clearing 4.82 meters, the best mark in the world this year.

Two-time reigning NCAA champion Shamier Little of Texas A&M, a 20-year-old who runs in glasses, won the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.83. Little ran the fastest time in the world this year — 53.74 — at the NCAA Championships on June 13.

Little will be joined on the U.S. 400m hurdles team at Worlds by second- and third-place finishers Cassandra Tate and Kori Carter but not reigning World silver and bronze medalists Dalilah Muhammad and Lashinda Demus. Demus was fourth, .03 behind Carter, and Muhammad was seventh.

Joe Kovacs, the world’s best shot putter in 2014 and 2015, reached 21.84m on Sunday for his second straight U.S. title. He’ll be joined on the Worlds team by 2014 Diamond League champion Reese Hoffa, 2009 World champion Christian Cantwell and Jordan Clarke.

Evan Jager won the 3000m steeplechase in 8:12.29. Jager is the only non-Kenyan to run a top-10 time in the world this year and is the world’s fastest in the 1500m for 2015. The U.S. has never won a Worlds steeplechase medal.

Omar Craddock, Olympic silver medalist Will Claye and Marquis Dendy, all of whom competed for the University of Florida, went one-two-three in the triple jump. They’ll join Olympic champion Christian Taylor, who also competed for Florida, at Worlds in that event.

Three-time Olympian Chaunte Lowe won the women’s high jump, and five-time Olympian Amy Acuff finished third, but nobody in the field has reached the Worlds qualifying standard. They have until Aug. 9 to chase it.

Barbara Nwaba topped two-time Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe in the heptathlon with 6,500 points to 6,458. Erica Bougard was third to round out the Worlds team.

Kara Goucher: ‘People have been threatened’ at U.S. Championships

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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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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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