Mikaela Shiffrin clinches fourth World Cup slalom season title

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Mikaela Shiffrin clinched her fourth World Cup slalom season title before she left the gate for Saturday’s race. With that pressure off, Shiffrin went on to win for the 11th time in 23 starts this season.

Shiffrin prevailed by 1.03 seconds after two slalom runs in Squaw Valley, Calif., which is hosting its first World Cup races since 1969. Czech Sarka Strachova was second, followed by Austrian Bernadette Schild.

Swiss Wendy Holdener was fastest in the first run by .02 over Shiffrin, and led Shiffrin by .12 at the last split before the finish. But Holdener fell in the final few gates.

“In a way, I feel like she gave up the win,” Shiffrin said. “I didn’t necessarily take the win from her.”

Shiffrin made a mistake near the top of the course but gained considerable time on Strachova in the final several gates. Even if Holdener stayed upright, Shiffrin likely would have won.

“I’m not proud of my skiing,” Shiffrin said on NBCSN. “It was very scrappy, and I’m proud of the fight, but it’s not my best skiing. But to fight my way to the finish and come away with another win today, sometimes it’s better to do that than to feel like I skied unbelievable.”

Full Results | Run 2 Replay

Shiffrin’s closest standings rival, Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova, fell in her first of two slalom runs, which eliminated her already slim chances of overtaking Shiffrin in the standings by the end of the season next weekend.

Shiffrin matched legends Alberto TombaMarlies Schild and Marcel Hirscher with four World Cup slalom season titles. Three skiers have captured more — Ingemar Stenmark (eight), Vreni Schneider (six) and Erika Hess (five).

Shiffrin now leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by a nearly insurmountable 378 points with four races left. Winners receive 100 points per race.

Shiffrin can mathematically clinch her first overall title next week at the World Cup Finals, which begin with a downhill on Wednesday in Aspen, Colo.

Already the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever, Shiffrin is set to become the youngest male or female World Cup overall champion since Croatian Janica Kostelic in 2003. She turns 22 years old on Monday.

“I’m very close to having the overall, but at the same time it makes me feel like I have to earn it even more,” Shiffrin said, noting that her top rival early in the season, 2016 overall champion Lara Gut, is out with a season-ending knee injury. “It’s something that I feel like I haven’t quite earned yet, even though I have it almost on paper. It adds a little bit of pressure almost.”

Four Americans have won the overall title — Phil MahreTamara McKinneyBode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.

Shiffrin is now at 31 World Cup wins, ranking third all-time among Americans behind Vonn (77 wins) and Miller (33 wins).

Her 11 wins this season tie for the second-most by an American in one season, behind Vonn’s 12 in 2012.

With one giant slalom and one slalom left next week, she could reach 13 victories, which would tie for second all-time among all male and female skiers in one season.

Shiffrin’s continued slalom domination and breakthrough giant slalom and super combined wins this season make her a threat next year to become the first U.S. woman to win three gold medals at one Winter Olympics in any sport.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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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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