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Fiji, GB advance to men’s rugby’s gold medal game; USA finish 9th

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Fiji and Great Britain will contend the first ever gold medal game in men’s rugby sevens.

Fiji led 10-5 at halftime of its semifinal with Japan on tries from Vatemo Ravouvou and Josua Tuisova and matched that offense in the second half while blanking Japan to scoop a 20-5 win and move onto the final.

South Africa drew first blood in its semifinal against Great Britain through Kyle Brown, but Dan Norton’s lightning run early in the second half led to a try and a point-blank conversion from Tom Mitchell to make it 7-5. The score held up.

Japan and South Africa will go for bronze. Fifth through eighth will be determined before the medal matches. WATCH HERE beginning at 4:30 p.m. EDT.


The United States beat Spain 24-12 to clinch ninth spot in Olympics men’s rugby sevens, and finish the tourney with a respectable 3-3 record.

A lightning-quick move from Spain’s Pablo Fontes put them up 5-0, but Danny Barrett executed another clever, shifting run to level things. Madison Hughes’ conversion put the Yanks up 7-5.

They added to the lead through Carlin Isles, and the teams traded tries from Angel Lopez and Maka Unufe to leave it 19-12 with 90 seconds to play. Isles added another try late.

Kenya beat Brazil 24-0 to finish 11th. The fifth through eight games are played before the bronze and gold medal matches later this afternoon.

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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