Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal reach French Open fourth round

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Rafael Nadal may have 11 French Open titles, but Roger Federer was more efficient in reaching the second week at Roland Garros.

Federer, playing the clay-court Grand Slam for the first time since 2015, swept Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (8) to reach the round of 16 without dropping a set in three matches.

Ruud’s father and coach, Christian, played in the 1999 French Open, which was Federer’s first Grand Slam. Federer’s match Friday was his 400th at a Grand Slam, extending his record for men or women.

“A few months ago I didn’t know what to expect with anything, really,” said the 37-year-old Federer, who didn’t play any clay events in 2017 and 2018. “At this point, now I know where my level’s at. I still don’t know exactly where my absolute best is, you know, but I feel like it could be there.”

Nadal still looks like a favorite for a 12th crown in Paris, but No. 27 David Goffin became the first man to take a set off him in the first week of a French Open since 2013. The trouble was short-lived as Nadal advanced 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

“It happens. David is a great player,” Nadal said after his streak ended at 56 sets won in the first three rounds at the French. “I played against a top player that had injuries, and he’s a little bit lower in the ranking now, but when he’s playing well, he’s a player that already showed to everybody that he can win against every player in this world.”

Nadal was playing on Court Philippe Chatrier on the 10th anniversary of one of his only two losses at this event. Swede Robin Soderling upset Nadal that day, paving the way for Federer to bag his one and only French Open title.

Federer and Nadal last met at the October 2017 Shanghai Masters, with Federer winning for the fifth straight time in the rivalry to move to 15-23 against Nadal. Nadal has won all five of their French Open matchups, including finals in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, the last meeting.

Federer next plays 68th-ranked Argentine Leonardo Mayer, but the difficulty should really ratchet up in a possible quarterfinal. No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov are in the Federer quarter.

Nadal gets 78th-ranked Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the fourth round.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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Justin Morneau nixes Olympic baseball qualifying return

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Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins, was taken off Canada’s Olympic baseball qualifying roster before he would have played his first competitive game in more than two years.

Morneau, 38, experienced an unspecified setback in training and was replaced on Canada’s roster for next month’s Premier12. The global tournament marks the first opportunity for many world baseball powers to qualify for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

Morneau never played in the Olympics before baseball was cut from the Games after 2008; active MLB players have never competed in the Games. But he was on Canada’s roster at all four World Baseball Classics from 2006 through 2017.

At November’s Premier12, the top nation from North and South America will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan and Israel are already qualified. Those that do not qualify will get another chance next year.

Morneau could become the second Major League Baseball MVP to play Olympic baseball as a medal sport. The other was Jason Giambi, who made the U.S. team in 1992, the same summer he was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

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MORE: Joe Girardi replaced as U.S. baseball manager by World Series champion

Kolohe Andino is first U.S. Olympic surfing qualifier; Kelly Slater faces last chance

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Kolohe Andino is the first American to qualify for surfing’s Olympic debut, which leaves one spot left for 47-year-old Kelly Slater to chase at the final contest of the season.

Andino, a 25-year-old Californian whose first name means “rascal” in Hawaiian, clinched his place in Tokyo on Friday at the penultimate stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour in Portugal. He is ranked fifth in the world, trailing a trio of Brazilians.

One more American man will join Andino on the Olympic team. It will be one of Slater, the 11-time world champion, John John Florence, the 2016 and 2017 World champion, and rising 22-year-old Hawaiian Seth Moniz.

Slater was handed a golden opportunity to qualify when Florence announced in early July that he tore an ACL for the second time in 13 months. Florence had won two of the first five events this season.

Slater has been chasing the sidelined Florence in the standings ever since. But it has not been easy.

Slater hasn’t made the quarterfinals in any of his last seven contests going into December’s finale — the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said in July, noting a back injury. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, who won the Pipe Masters seven times between 1992 and 2013, must reach the quarterfinals at this year’s event to have any chance of passing Florence to qualify for the Olympics.

Complicating matters: Florence said in August it was his “goal to get better for Pipeline in case I have to come back and compete and gain points,” according to ESPN.com. If Florence does return for the December contest, and makes the quarterfinals, Slater could only pass him with a victory.

Moniz goes into the finale ranked one spot behind Slater, meaning he, too, can grab that second and final Olympic spot with a win or a runner-up.

Slater, who turns 48 on Feb. 11, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, according to the OlyMADMen.

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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