In the first match of the Olympic women’s soccer competition, Sweden had to work harder than many anticipated as they beat South Africa by the final score of 1-0 Wednesday afternoon. Nilla Fischer’s tap-in of a ball mishandled by South African keeper Roxanne Barker on a Swedish corner kick in the 74th minute was the difference, making up for what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Sweden offensively.
The Swedes produced far more opportunities of the two teams, including hitting the upper 90 with a shot early in the first half, but they were unable to get a shot past Barker until Fischer’s tally. South Africa was able to mount a couple counter attacks in the second half, but their inability to find that final pass resulted in the attack fizzing out without posing much of a threat to Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl. Sweden entered the Olympics ranked sixth in FIFA’s world rankings, while South Africa is 52nd, but the rankings didn’t matter much as the underdogs were able to frustrate the Swedes as the match progressed.
With matches against more highly regarded sides in Brazil and China remaining, Sweden was in a position where they could ill afford to drop points Wednesday if they wanted to be in position to grab a quality spot in the knockout stage.
Sweden (1W-0D-0L; 3 points) will play its second match in group play Saturday, with hosts Brazil being the opposition in the second game of the doubleheader at the Olympic Stadium. South Africa (0W-0D-1L; 0 points) takes on China Saturday evening in the match that precedes Sweden vs. Brazil at the Olympic Stadium.
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.