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Frank Fredericks provisionally suspended in Olympic vote investigation

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MONACO (AP) — Four-time Olympic medalist Frank Fredericks has been suspended from duty by track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, while he is investigated for alleged corruption suspected of being linked to the 2016 Olympics hosting vote.

The independent Athletics Integrity Unit said Monday that its request for an interim ban on Fredericks, a former sprinter from Namibia, was granted by the IAAF disciplinary panel.

Fredericks, who is also an International Olympic Committee member, is separately being investigated by the IOC ethics commission over a near-$300,000 payment he received on Oct. 2, 2009 — the same day Rio de Janeiro won the 2016 Olympic hosting vote in a four-city contest.

French daily Le Monde alleged in March that the payment came from a Brazilian businessman and was channeled through a sports marketing company created by Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack. Both Diacks are implicated by French prosecutors in a corruption case that includes extorting money from athletes to cover up doping.

Fredericks denies wrongdoing, claiming the money was for contracted consultancy work. He previously offered to step aside from his IOC work and his IAAF duties except his seat on the ruling Council.

“I am not prepared to voluntarily consent not to undertake my duties in respect of the position I hold as IAAF Council Member,” Fredericks wrote to the disciplinary panel.

However, he did agree to avoid attending a meeting in London next month on the sidelines of the Aug. 4-13 world championships.

Fredericks plans to contest the suspension at a hearing, the integrity unit says.

In its published interim ruling, the IAAF disciplinary panel said Fredericks had the presumption of innocence while under investigation.

Still, the panel chairman noted that “Fredericks has not, in the answers and explanations he has provided to date, disturbed the prima facie case of matters warranting investigation.”

Those matters include “whether there was any connection between the Payment and the IOC vote to award the 2016 summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro,” the IAAF panel said.

Fredericks was seen as a rising star in Olympic circles until the case was reported. He had to resign as chairman of the IOC panel evaluating the bids of Los Angeles and Paris to host the 2024 Olympics, and agreed not to take part in that hosting decision due in September.

The 49-year-old official won silver medals in 100 and 200 meters at both the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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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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