Yuzuru Hanyu breaks world records, three-peats at Grand Prix Final

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Yuzuru Hanyu broke his world record free skate and total scores for the second straight competition and became the first man to win three straight Grand Prix Finals in Barcelona on Saturday.

The Olympic champion landed three quadruple jumps and two triple Axels on Saturday. He scored 219.48 points for his free skate and 330.43 overall, both breaking his world records from NHK Trophy in Japan two weeks ago.

His margin of victory, 37.48 points, broke the Grand Prix Final record of 35.1 points under the decade-old scoring system set by Yevgeny Plushenko in 2004. No man, woman, pair or ice dance couple has ever won by the large of a margin at an Olympics, Worlds or Grand Prix Final.

Hanyu said the performance was “almost perfect.”

“I just want to do the perfect feeling,” said Hanyu, who also broke his short program world record from NHK on Friday and is the only man to clear 300 points. “I feel like score is score. My performance is my performance. That’s a difference, right?

“I’m really, really nervous, and I feel really heavy pressure today. So I wasn’t comfortable. Please tell me how do I get confidence in my performance?”

Spain’s Javier Fernandez took silver behind Hanyu for a second straight year with 292.95 total points, landing two quads clean and stepping out of the landing of a third in his free skate.

“After the short program, I know Yuzuru was way far away already,” said Fernandez, who trailed by 19.43 after the short program. “If he does a great program, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Japan’s Shoma Uno, the reigning World junior champion, earned bronze with 276.79 and two quads Saturday.

Canada’s Patrick Chan, a three-time World champion, improved from last place (sixth overall) after the short program to finish fourth.

NBC will air Grand Prix Final coverage Dec. 20 from 4-6 p.m. ET. The Grand Prix Final is the most prestigious annual competition outside of the World Championships.

The figure skating season continues with National Championships in Japan, Russia and the U.S. in December and January.

The World Championships are in Boston in late March and early April. Fernandez upset Hanyu at last season’s World Championships.

MORE: U.S. women miss medals at Grand Prix Final

U.S. diving roster for world championships finalized at nationals

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Collegians David Dinsmore and Brandon Loschiavo beat out Olympian Steele Johnson for the two U.S. men’s platform spots at July’s world championships.

Dinsmore, a rising Miami senior, had the highest cumulative score at the U.S. Championships in Indianapolis, while Loschiavo, a rising Purdue senior, was second while earning the national title with the top tally in Sunday’s final.

Johnson, coming back from two foot surgeries in the last eight months, ended up third, 41.95 points behind Loschiavo.

Johnson is still going to worlds in South Korea with former Purdue teammate Ben Bramley in the synchronized platform. Johnson is an Olympic silver medalist in that event with David Boudia, who left the platform for the springboard and won the national title on that event Saturday.

Also Sunday, Brooke Schultz and Sarah Bacon earned world spots in the women’s springboard, the one event this weekend without an Olympian in the field. Schultz won the previous world championships trials in 2017 and placed 25th at those worlds. Bacon, a rising Minnesota senior, is going to her first worlds.

Divers will compete at worlds for themselves but also to earn Olympic quota spots for the U.S.

U.S. roster for World Diving Championships
Women
Synchronized Springboard — Alison Gibson/Krysta Palmer
Synchronized Platform — Murphy Bromberg/Katrina Young (Olympian)
1m Springboard (Not an Olympic event) — Sarah Bacon, Maria Coburn
3m Springboard — Brooke Schultz, Sarah Bacon
Platform — Amy Cozad Magana (Olympian), Delaney Schnell

Men
Synchronized Springboard — Andrew Capobianco/MIchael Hixon (Olympian)
Synchronized Platform — Ben Bramley/Steele Johnson (Olympian)
1m Springboard (Not an Olympic event) — Briadam Herrera, Michael Hixon (Olympian)
3m Springboard — Michael Hixon (Olympian), David Boudia (Olympian)
Platform — David Dinsmore, Brandon Loschiavo

Mixed (Not Olympic events)
Synchronized Springboard — Briadam Herrera/Lauren Reedy
Synchronized Platform — Zach Cooper/Olivia Rosendahl

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VIDEO: Relive Greg Louganis diving board accident on 30th anniversary

Venus Williams exits on French Open opening day

Venus Williams
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PARIS (AP) — Venus Williams’ 22nd appearance at the French Open did not last long.

The 2002 runner-up lost her opening match at Roland Garros for the second year in a row, beaten 6-3, 6-3 by ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina in 1 hour, 13 minutes.

The 38-year-old Williams lost in the first round for the fourth time in the last seven years at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.

Wiliams was broken in seven of her nine service games.

She wasn’t the only major winner to make an early exit. Angelique Kerber won’t complete a career Grand Slam this year.

Still hampered by a right ankle injury, the three-time major winner lost 6-4, 6-2 to an 18-year-old Roland Garros beginner, Russian Anastasia Potapova, on Court Philippe Chatrier.

No. 5 seed Kerber’s preparations for Roland Garros, where she never advanced past the quarterfinals, were hampered by the injury she suffered at the Madrid Open last month.

“Of course this is not my excuse and everything,” Kerber said. “I tried my best. I know that there is still a little bit of work to do to be really playing matches 100 percent.”

The 81st-ranked Potapova sealed the opening set with a cross-court backhand winner and broke twice at the start of the second. Kerber saved two match points before shanking a forehand wide sealing her fate.

“The clay season is over now for me. Yeah, I’m happy about that, that I can now look forward to playing on grass,” added Kerber, who won the Australian Open and US Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2018.

Playing his first match at Roland Garros since 2015, Roger Federer had no problem reaching the second round.

Back on the refurbished Chatrier, the 20-time Grand Slam champion defeated French Open debutant Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Federer missed the French Open in 2016 because of a back injury and then skipped the event to focus on Wimbledon. He won the title in Paris 10 years ago to complete a career Grand Slam.

“I missed you, thanks very much for the welcome,” Federer said to the crowd after concluding his match. “I was quite tense at the start.”

Among other seeded players in action, 2016 champion and 19th-seeded Garbine Muguruza advanced to the second round with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Taylor Townsend at the tournament’s newest stadium, Court Simonne Mathieu. No. 11-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-3, 7-5, 6-1.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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