French Open: No. 4 seeds upset in third round

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PARIS (AP) — The seeds began meeting at the French Open on Friday, producing the highest-ranked exits in the men’s and women’s draws.

Both No. 4 seeds, Grigor Dimitrov and Elina Svitolina, were upset to start third-round play at Roland Garros. The other top seeds in action all advanced, led by No. 2 Alexander Zverev (barely) and No. 7 Dominic Thiem and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 13 Madison Keys.

NBC’s coverage of the French Open continues Saturday at 12 p.m. ET, also streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Saturday’s third-round schedule includes Serena Williams playing No. 11 Julia Goerges of Germany, Maria Sharapova against No. 6 Karolina Pliskova and Rafael Nadal versus Richard Gasquet. Williams and Sharapova would play each other in the fourth round.

On Friday, Dimitrov fell to 0-7 against top-50 opponents at the French Open and still has never made it to the fourth round at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.

Dimitrov, a two-time major semifinalist, bowed out 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 against Fernando Verdasco, who is ranked 35th and seeded 30th.

In his previous match, Dimitrov had come back after trailing two sets to one and defeated Jared Donaldson 10-8 in the fifth set. That 4-hour, 19-minute victory might have taken something out of Dimitrov.

Verdasco, meanwhile, got to the French Open round of 16 for the seventh time. He has lost at that stage on all six previous chances to reach the quarterfinals.

Svitolina surprisingly lost 6-3, 7-5 against Mihaela Buzarnescu, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this week.

Svitolina reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2015 and 2017 and was coming off a second consecutive title in Rome on red clay. She also came into the French Open with a chance to get to No. 1.

But the 31st-seeded Buzarnescu, a Romanian with a PhD in sports science, continued the surge that has seen her rise nearly 350 spots in the rankings over the past year. She has not dropped a set yet and will face U.S. Open runner-up Keys in the fourth round.

Zverev is into the fourth round of the French Open for the first time, saving match point to win 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 against Damir Dzumhur, who collided with a ball boy in the fourth set.

Wozniacki breezed past French wild-card entry Pauline Parmentier 6-0, 6-3 and appears to be brimming with self-belief after her breakthrough Australian Open title in January.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams advanced to the third round in doubles, beating Sara Errani and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2.

The Williams-Williams duo last competed at a major tournament together at Wimbledon in 2016. They won their 14th Grand Slam title in doubles at the All England Club.

Serena Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, is playing in Grand Slam singles for the first time in 16 months. She has reached the third round at Roland Garros, but her older sister lost in the first round.

Rain ended play prematurely on Friday, with U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens among those unable to start their scheduled matches.

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FRENCH OPEN: TV/Stream Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw (PDF) | Women’s Draw

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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