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Team USA struggles but holds off Serbia, 94-91

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After beating Australia by ten points Wednesday night, the U.S. men’s basketball team appeared to be done with the drama at the Olympics. But Friday against Serbia things got even worse for the two-time defending Olympic champions, as their struggles on both ends of the floor nearly cost them the game.

The Americans hung on to win 94-91, with a Bogdan Bogdanovic three-pointer in the final seconds missing the mark. Kyrie Irving led six Americans in double figures with 15 points, but that offensive balance masks the fact that once again that their ball and player movement wasn’t at the level that they needed it to reach. Far too often the U.S. fell into the trap of “iso ball,” with one player monopolizing the basketball and the other four simply standing around hoping that something would happen.

WATCH: USA men’s basketball outlasts Serbia

Given their individual talents the U.S. can get away with this against most teams, but after being pushed by Australia the Americans met an even tougher challenge in the form of Serbia. That will have to change as Mike Krzyzewski’s team moves into bracket play, where a loss would have far more damaging consequences (no gold medal) than in group play.

Defensively, once again defending ball screens was a problem as Serbian point guard Milos Teodosic was able to create quality looks for both himself and other players. But the ball screen was just one aspect of Serbia’s offense that gave the U.S. fits, as they were committed to moving the ball and using solid player movement to make the Americans chase the ball on many occasions. Teodosic finished with 18 points and six assists, and forwards Nikola Jokic (25 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Miroslav Raduljica (18 points) were the beneficiaries of Serbia’s offensive execution.

Jokic, who was one of the best rookies in the NBA last season with the Denver Nuggets, shot 11-for-16 from the field and was able to make shots both inside the paint and out throughout the evening. Even with their familiarity with his skill set, Jokic gave the American big men fits regardless of the lineup (conventional or small) that Krzyzewski put on the court.

Even with the issues on both ends of the floor the United States is still undefeated in group play. But these last two games should serve as a wake-up call for them, especially the ten players who are playing in their first Olympics. Next up for the U.S., which has clinched the top spot in Group A, is a matchup with a France squad led by San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker Sunday afternoon.

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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