The United States entered the women’s volleyball competition at the Rio Olympics as one of the favorites to win gold, and on Saturday they began their tournament with a 3-0 win over Olympic debutantes Puerto Rico in a Pool B matchup at the Maracanazinho Arena.
Led by the tandem of Kelly Murphy and Kimberly Hill, with Murphy racking up 13 kills and Hill 12, the Americans won the first and third sets by a 25-17 score with the second set finishing 25-22 in their favor. Four players tallied at least eight kills in the match, with Foluke Akinradewo adding nine kills and Jordan Larson-Burbach eight for the United States, as a team the Americans finished with a total of 50 kills for the match.
Puerto Rico, which had never qualified for the Olympics in women’s volleyball prior to this year, was led offensively by Stephanie Enright and Aurea Cruz. Enright finished the match with nine kills, and Cruz added eight for Puerto Rico. Next up for them is a match against Serbia Monday night.
As for the United States, they’re scheduled to take on the Netherlands on Monday. The Dutch are also 1-0 in pool play, as they beat China three sets to two in the first match of the day at the Maracanazinho Arena.
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.