Patrick Kane, having already broken U.S. records for points and assists at a world championship, scored two more goals in a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in Thursday’s quarterfinals in Denmark.
The U.S., whose only standalone world title came in 1933, gets Sweden in Saturday’s semifinals.
Kane, a two-time Olympian and captain of this team, leads the tournament with 19 points and 11 assists. His eight goals are two shy of the U.S. record at a single worlds held by Buzz Johnson from 1950.
The U.S., with all NHL players save one on its roster, reached the final four for the fourth time in six years. The Olympic team made up of non-NHL players lost to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals in PyeongChang.
The other Saturday semifinal pits Canada, a 5-4 overtime winner over Russia on Thursday, against Switzerland, which upset Finland in the quarterfinals.
The Americans won their first six games for the first time at a standalone worlds (the Olympics doubled as the world championship in Olympic years as recently as 1968). They ended group play with their first loss, 6-2 to Finland, on Tuesday.
The U.S. is trying to earn its first world title since 1960, when the Olympics doubled as worlds, and third medal in six years. Kane headlines a roster that also includes NHL All-Stars Johnny Gaudreau, Dylan Larkin and Cam Atkinson.
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 most recent match with a right thigh injury last week 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 and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes 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, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all 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.