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Serena Williams makes Wimbledon quarterfinals; no top-10 seeds left

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Serena Williams made her 13th Wimbledon quarterfinal, but for the first time in any Grand Slam in the 50-year Open Era, no top-10 seeds in one of the singles draws made the final eight.

Williams, the 25th seed, beat Russian qualifier and fellow mom Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-2 on Monday. She gets Italian Camila Giorgi in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

“It was tougher than the scoreline,” Williams said. “I knew we were both moms, and I’m not sure how often that’s happened, if ever. So it’s really cool. You can be a mom, you can still play tennis and you can still be great.”

Williams is looking for her eighth Wimbledon title and has established herself as the big favorite once again, with the top-10 seeds all eliminated. She is seeded 25th after missing last year’s tournament while pregnant.

The highest seeds in the quarterfinals are No. 11 Angelique Kerber, No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko and No. 13 Julia Görges. Williams could play Görges in the semifinals.

The last top-10 women’s seed fell Monday, with No. 7 Karolina Pliskova upset by No. 20 Kiki Bertens 6-3, 7-6 (1). It’s not only the first time in Grand Slam Open Era history without a top-10 woman in the quarterfinals, but also the semifinals.

“I don’t think this has happened to this extreme. But also, I’ve never been ranked where I am,” Williams said. “Usually, I’m one of those few seeds left that’s still fighting and still in the tournament. Now that I’m not, it kind of happened.”

The previous record for fewest top-10 seeds in the men’s or women’s quarterfinals at a Grand Slam was one man in the 1997 and 1998 French Opens.

Also Monday, Roger FedererRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals of the same Grand Slam for the first time since the 2015 French Open.

Federer won the first set in 16 minutes en route to sweeping Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 to make his record-extending 16th Wimbledon quarterfinal.

The top seed Federer, who also owns a record eight Wimbledon men’s singles titles, next faces No. 8 Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.

No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal remained on track for a possible final versus Federer by sweeping Czech Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to make his first quarterfinal since 2011. Nadal gets No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro or Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Djokovic, seeded 12th, ousted Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 and will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

American John Isner reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in nearly seven years, knocking out No. 31 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6 (8), 7-6 (4). The ninth seed Isner gets 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nathan Chen prepared to capture third national title

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Nathan Chen called into his media teleconference from the rink last week, still on his winter break between his freshman semesters at Yale University.

The signal wasn’t great inside, he said, and it momentarily spared him from answering a direct question about his GPA his first semester as a college student.

Back on the call, the reigning world champion admitted, “I’m not gonna say the exact number, but there are some A’s and B’s sprinkled in.

“Really no complaints. I got pretty good grades. I’m pretty happy with that.”

His skating report card from the fall reads equally as impressively. Chen won the title at Skate America to open the season, followed by a come-from-behind win at Grand Prix France. To cap it all off, he won a second-consecutive Grand Prix Final title.

All this while the 2018 Olympic team event bronze medalist is across the country from his longtime coach Rafael Arutunian and trying out telecoaching for the first time.

Back in California between semesters, Chen said Raf has asked him to stay full-time.

“Since the past two weeks that I’ve been here, literally every day he’s been like, ‘you gotta come back! You gotta come back! There’s so much that you can learn at the rink. I respect what your decision is at Yale but it’s been so great having you here.’ He really wishes that I could stay here full time but at the same time, I already started this path and I don’t really want to pull out just yet.”

As for his second semester in college, Chen is signed up for about 10 courses and will have about two weeks at the beginning of term to add and drop courses. He’ll be in classes – he’s not exactly sure which, though – for a week before attempting to notch his third-straight U.S. national title.

“I selected a bunch of courses, probably selected like 10 different courses. I’ll go in and the first week I will see which courses I like, which courses I don’t like.”

Competing during the spring semester might be harder. February’s Four Continents Championships, this year to be held in Anaheim, Calif., aren’t during a scheduled academic break. Conveniently, world championships are scheduled during Yale’s spring break.

“I’m not sure yet [if he’ll compete there if named to the team],” he said. “That’s still TBD. I would love to since it’s in California, and it’s a great event. We’ll see.”

But for now, competing well in Detroit is the next step.

“I have to skate as well as I can and regardless of the external things,” he said when asked if coming in as the reigning world champion or as the favorite affects him. “Just focus on all the things that I can do right now in training to make sure that I do the best I can in competition.”

The men’s short program is Jan. 26 followed by the free skate on Jan. 27.

MORE: Adam Rippon’s new year’s resolutions

As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins Kronplatz giant slalom for her 10th win of the season

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Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s giant slalom at the World Cup stop in Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday, marking her 10th victory of the 2018-19 season and 53rd World Cup win of her career. Shiffrin, the 2018 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist, led France’s Tessa Worley by 1.39 seconds after the first run. Although Worley outpaced Shiffrin in the second run, Shiffrin’s massive first-run margin allowed her to win the two-run event by 1.21 seconds. Italy’s Marta Bassino placed third. Full results are here. 

Shiffrin entered Kronplatz ranked third in the World Cup giant slalom standings, but moves into first place with the win. The 23-year-old also leads the overall World Cup leader board, as well as the slalom and super-G discipline standings. Shiffrin has won seven World Cup globes in her career (two overall, five slalom).

Shiffrin has already broken multiple records this season, including becoming the youngest skier to win 50 World Cup races, and there are still more records within striking distance. Shiffrin could break the record for most World Cup wins in a single seasons; the current record (14) was set by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider in 1988-89.

The next stop for the women’s World Cup is this weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with two downhills scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and a super-G slated for Sunday. Shiffrin plans to skip the downhills, but enter the super-G. Lindsey Vonn, who missed the start of the season with a knee injury, is expected to make her return to competition in Friday’s downhill.