South Africa’s Chad le Clos attempted some of the same pre-race antics that grabbed headlines ahead of his semifinal heat shared with American Michael Phelps in the 200 butterfly, attempting to stare down the Olympic champion and get into his head. As was the case in the semifinal heat the antics didn’t have their desired effect, as Phelps won the 20th Olympic gold medal of his storied career.
Phelps finished the race in 1:53.36, with Japan’s Masato Sakai finishing in 1:53.40 to take silver. Taking the bronze medal was Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi, who finished the race in 1:53.62.
As for le Clos? At the final turn he was in second place and appeared to be Phelps’ biggest threat during the stretch run. But as le Clos attempted to steal glances at Phelps just one lane over in lane four, he was passed by both Sakai and Kenderesi and failed to medal. Following his win Phelps went with the finger wag that’s become all the rage at the swimming venue this week.
His former USA Swimming teammate Natalie Couglin summed it up even better.
Phelps will look to win a second gold medal on the night, as he’ll be swimming the anchor in the 4×200 freestyle relay. Among Phelps’ (31 years, 41 days old) other accomplishments on the night, he became the oldest swimmer to win an individual gold medal in Olympic history (Netherlands’ Inge de Bruijn was 30 years, 363 days old in 2004), and he’s now the first athlete to win multiple gold medals in four different Olympic games.
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.