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Austria’s Stephanie Venier tames rough downhill for first World Cup win

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Racing was halted almost before it started in Germany today in the women’s World Cup downhill. When the second and third skiers out of the gate flew through the air off a jump further than the FIS race director felt was safe, crews were on the course making adjustments, shaving down the Seilbahn Stadl, or Gondola Barn, jump.

Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel was next up, skiing fourth. Mowinckel’s guinea pig run was a success, as teams began relaying the new course recon up to the start gate.

Watching her fellow skiers find the best line to the finish, Austria’s Stephanie Venier, skiing 11th, used the precious intel to her advantage, picking up her first World Cup win. Venier was able to relegate reigning Olympic downhill champion, Italy’s Sofia Goggia, to second place by .25 hundredths of a second. Venier was also on the downhill podium last weekend, taking third in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Goggia nabbed her second podium finish of the weekend, in what was her first World Cup event since fracturing her ankle earlier this season. Germany’s Kira Weidle, skiing on the home snow, finished third.

Full results are here.

Austria’s Cornelia Huetter, seventh in World Cup downhill standings, avoided serious injury and skied away from a nasty red-net crash when her skis knocked together to put her on her back in a rattly section on course.

The downhill in GaPa was the final speed event for the women before athletes head to Are, Sweden from February 4-17 for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

Prior to Worlds, the women’s World Cup will race giant slalom and slalom in Maribor, Slovenia next weekend. On Friday, the GS gets underway at 4:00 a.m. ET and slalom begins on Saturday, also at 4:00 a.m. ET. Livestream both events on OlympicChannel.com or NBC Sports Gold.

Also on Sunday morning, the men were setting the Kitzbuehel Super-G course on fire with Germany’s Josef Ferstl picking up his first World Cup win of the season. France’s Johan Clarey and Italy’s Dominik Paris finished the day in second and third, respectively.

Full results are here.  

Next weekend the men’s tour takes over Garmisch-Partenkirchen, racing the downhill and giant slalom, after an early-week stop in Austria on Tuesday for a slalom competition. Catch the downhill from GaPa live Saturday morning on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold starting at 5:30 a.m. ET. The second run of the men’s giant slalom on Sunday can be seen live on Olympic Channel at 7:30 a.m. ET, with streaming coverage beginning at 4:30 a.m. ET on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold.

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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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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