Serena Williams advances to women’s singles third round

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After losing her opening match in women’s doubles alongside older sister Venus, Serena Williams returned to the court looking to advance to the third round of the Olympic women’s singles tournament. But in France’s Alize Cornet, Williams was up against an opponent who had won their last three meetings, so nothing was to be taken for granted. But after being pushed to a tiebreaker in the first set, the world’s top-ranked player grabbed control in the second set to win the match, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Serena finished the match with five double faults and 36 unforced errors, but many of those problems occurred in the first set. Williams did what’s expected of great players in the second, removing any doubt and advancing to the third round. Next up for Williams is Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, who is winless in four prior meetings between the two.

WATCH: Serena sweeps Cornet in women’s singles match

Madison Keys also advanced in the women’s singles draw, as she beat France’s Kristina Mladenovic 7-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5). Next up for Keys is Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, a straight set winner over Croatia’s Ana Konjuh. Also winning Monday was the American doubles tandem of Jack Sock and Steve Johnson, straight set winners over Colombia’s Robert Farah and Juan-Sebastian Cabal.

The United States did not enjoy such fortune in other doubles matches, however, with teams being eliminated in both men’s and women’s doubles. Brian Baker and Rajeev Ram were eliminated by Austria’s Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya in three sets, with the women’s doubles team of Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands losing in straight sets to Switzerland’s Martina Hingis and Timea Bacsinsky.

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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