Action in men’s and women’s basketball continues Thursday, and the most entertaining game on the slate will in all likelihood be the one that’s last on the schedule.
Group B teams Lithuania and Argentina, both of whom are 2-0 thus far in men’s Group B play, meet at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. Multiple NBA players will be on display, most notably Argentina’s Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola and Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis, but there are some good non-NBA players as well. Lithuania’s Mantas Kalnietis has performed well on the perimeter, and Argentina’s Nicolas Laprovittola made some big plays in their win over Croatia.
Hosts Brazil takes on Croatia in an important matchup, and Spain is in dire need of a win after starting their Olympic tournament with two losses. After winning a silver medal in each of the last two Olympics, Pau Gasol company could be on a collision course with the United States in the quarterfinals (or worse, they could fail to advance) if they don’t start playing better basketball. Spain plays Nigeria, a team they’ll be expected to defeat Thursday afternoon.
On the women’s side Australia and Japan meet in a matchup of the top two teams in Group A. Boasting talents such as forward Liz Cambage and guard Penny Taylor, Australia has the talent to earn a medal in Rio. Japan’s split their first two games, beating Belarus and losing to Turkey, but the point system used has them in second on five points. France faces hosts Brazil, and Belarus plays Turkey in the other group games Thursday.
And with the cluttered nature of Group A, all three games are important when it comes to determining who will advance to the quarterfinal round.
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.