Chloe Kim gets fifth X Games SuperPipe gold

Chloe Kim
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In her first run in the X Games SuperPipe in Aspen, 18-year-old Chloe Kim fell, sitting down on the wall on her final hit. What the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic halfpipe gold medalist did next was equal to the mettle seen in champions well beyond her years.

While stuck in last place, Kim dropped in for her second attempt, opening with a frontside 1080, followed by a cab 720, into a frontside 540 and topping it all off with a McTwist. For Kim, and the incredible amplitude she is best known for, the run was uncharacteristically textbook. Therein lies the maturity shown by Kim. When she was down, she did what she needed to do to get win, despite wanting to leave the crowd breathless.

“I honestly wanted to do a complete[ly] different run,” Kim said after receiving her fifth X Games SuperPipe gold. “I was so bummed I wasn’t able to do it, so you know, [I’m] looking forward to the next one and super excited to do some cool stuff for you guys.”

Kim is now the first X Games athlete to win five gold medals by age 18.

Kim’s second run received 84.00 points from the judges, and in a best-of-three run event, hers was tops. Behind Kim taking silver and bronze where Spain’s Queralt Castellet and China’s Cai Xuetong.

The feel good story on Saturday came in men’s snowboard slopestyle, when Canada’s Mark McMorris needed to pull off some late-day magic to win gold. The two-time Olympic bronze medalist went big and pulled off a flawless third run for the win.

“This is dream-come-true type [expletive],” a surprised McMorris said while clutching his gold medal.

McMorris also won snowboard Big Air silver on Friday night in Aspen.

McMorris was severely injured in a 2017 backcountry snowboarding accident when he collided with a tree. His recovery and return to competition, which included a bronze medal win at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, seem to have exceeded even his own expectations.

Coco Gauff rallies past 16-year-old at French Open

Coco Gauff French Open
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Coco Gauff rallied to defeat 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the French Open third round in Gauff’s first Grand Slam singles match against a younger opponent.

The sixth seed Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up, outlasted Andreeva 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round, where she will play Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova or American Kayla Day.

“She’s super young, so she has a lot to look forward to,” Gauff, 19, said on Tennis Channel. “I’m sure we’re going to have many more battles in the future. … I remember when I was 16. I didn’t care who I was playing against, and she has that kind of game and mentality, too.”

Gauff could play top seed and defending champ Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals. Swiatek on Saturday thumped 80th-ranked Wang Xinyu of China 6-0, 6-0, winning 50 of the 67 points in a 51-minute match.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

This week, Andreeva became the youngest player to win a French Open main draw match since 2005 (when 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria made the quarterfinals). She was bidding to become the youngest to make the last 16 of any major since Gauff’s breakout as a 15-year-old.

The American made it that far at 2019 Wimbledon (beating Venus Williams in her Grand Slam main draw debut) and the 2020 Australian Open (beating defending champion Naomi Osaka) before turning 16. At last year’s French Open, Gauff became the youngest player to make a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova won 2004 Wimbledon at 17.

This was only Gauff’s third match against a younger player dating to her tour debut in 2019. It took Gauff 50 Grand Slam matches to finally face a younger player on this stage, a testament to how ahead of the curve she was (and still is).

While Gauff is the only teenager ranked in the top 49 in the world, Andreeva is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18 at No. 143 (and around No. 100 after the French). And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches at this French Open, fewest of any woman.

Gauff is the last seeded American woman left in the draw after No. 3 Jessica Pegula, No. 20 Madison Keys and No. 32 Shelby Rogers previously lost.

The last U.S. woman to win a major title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major span without an American champ is the longest for U.S. women since Monica Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

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Rafael Nadal expected to miss rest of 2023 season after surgery

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Rafael Nadal is expected to need five months to recover from arthroscopic surgery for a left hip flexor injury that kept him out of the French Open, effectively ruling him out for the rest of 2023 ATP tournament season.

Nadal underwent the surgery Friday night in Barcelona on the eve of his 37th birthday. He posted that, if all goes well, the recovery time is five months.

The timetable leaves open the possibility that Nadal could return for the Nov. 21-26 Davis Cup Finals team event in Malaga, Spain, which take place after the ATP Tour tournament season ends.

Nadal announced on May 18 that he had to withdraw from the French Open, a tournament he won a record 14 times, due to the injury that’s sidelined him since January’s Australian Open.

Nadal also said he will likely retire from professional tennis in the second half of 2024 after a farewell season that he hopes includes playing at Roland Garros twice — for the French Open and then the Paris Olympics.

When Nadal returns to competition, he will be older than any previous Grand Slam singles champion in the Open Era.

Nadal is tied with Novak Djokovic for the men’s record 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

While Nadal needs to be one of the four-highest ranked Spanish men after next year’s French Open for direct Olympic qualification in singles, he can, essentially, temporarily freeze his ranking in the top 20 under injury protection rules.

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