SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrived in South Korea on Thursday for a two-day visit to inspect preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Bach opened his visit by attending a dinner reception for a trilateral sports minsters’ meeting between South Korea, Japan and China at a Pyeongchang convention center, but he’s not expected to participate in discussions that will continue into Friday, according to an official from South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
The ministry said the talks are aimed at exploring cooperation between the countries that will host the next three Olympics. Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020 and Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022.
Bach will visit Olympic facilities, including new snow and ice venues that are under construction, and meet with organizers there before leaving the country on Friday afternoon, according to Pyeongchang’s organizing committee. He will be joined by other senior IOC officials, including Gunilla Lindberg, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for Pyeongchang, and Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director.
Pyeongchang organizers have struggled with construction delays, local conflicts over venue constructions and difficulties attracting domestic sponsorships, but optimism over preparations has increased after the successful hosting of test events at Olympic venues earlier this year.
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.