Even an Olympic all-around champion can make a mental mistake in Rio selection season.
Gabby Douglas‘ opening night at the P&G Championships didn’t go exactly as planned.
She’s in fourth place in the all-around, a distant four points behind leader Simone Biles going into the final night of competition Sunday in St. Louis (9 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports app).
Douglas is behind due to an error-filled balance beam performance more than any other apparatus. She scored a 14.2, which was more than one full point worse than the three women ranked ahead of her — Biles, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez.
“I rushed myself a little bit,” Douglas told NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce. “So I definitely need to go out there and just stay aggressive. But I think the confidence level is definitely there. I just need to not rush.”
Douglas still has time to impress the Olympic team selection committee led by U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi.
The Olympic team won’t be named until after the two-day Olympic Trials in San Jose in two weeks.
Douglas remains a favorite given her 2015 World Championships all-around silver-medal performance, but the gap between her and other challengers may have narrowed on Friday night.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.