Track and field continues Wednesday night, and while there are a host of events on the slate Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is once again the headliner.
Bolt will be running in the semis of the 200, with challengers such as Americans Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt, Canada’s Andre DeGrasse and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake also looking to lock up a spot in Thursday night’s final. Jamaica swept the medals in this event four years ago, but it’s going to be a lot more difficult to pull that off in Rio. In addition to the 200 semis competition will begin in the men’s javelin, with reigning world champion Julius Yego and Americans Cyrus Hostetler, Sam Crouser and Sean Furey all looking to advance.
There will also be three event finals taking place, the women’s long jump, women’s 200 and women’s 100 hurdles. Americans Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese are competing in the women’s long jump, with Reese looking to repeat as Olympic champion in the event. Russia’s Darya Klishina, the lone track and field athlete from her nation allowed to compete in Rio, is also part of the field.
Two of the three medalists in the women’s 100 are also running in the 200 final, as Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson will look to pull off the 100/200 double with American Tori Bowie (silver in the 100) among those looking to prevent that from happening. As for the 100 hurdles, there will be a new Olympic champion as none of the medalists from 2012 are running in Rio. Americans Nia Ali, Brianna Rollins and Kristi Castlin all advanced to the final, as did Germany’s Cindy Roleder, but Belarus’ Alina Talay (Roleder and Talay were 2nd and 3rd at last year’s Worlds in Beijing) did not.
Throughout the evening events in the decathlon will also be held, with American Ashton Eaton leading the competition through three events on 2803 points.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.