Naomi Osaka upset at French Open by No. 1 doubles player

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Naomi Osaka, feeling the weight of the No. 1 ranking, could not rally from a set down in a third straight French Open match. She was ousted by the world’s No. 1 doubles player, Czech Kateřina Siniaková, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round on Saturday.

Osaka had won 16 straight Grand Slam matches — including title runs at the U.S. Open and Australian Open — but she was living dangerously, having gone the full three sets in seven of them. That includes dropping the first set in every match this week.

“This tournament I have had a feeling that was different to the other Grand Slams, or, like, every other Grand Slam that I have played, because usually I find it very freeing and fun, and this time around I was kind of tense the entire time,” Osaka said, adding that, on a scale of 1 to 10, her level of disappointment was 100. “Today I felt very tired. And, like, the other matches, too, I had, like, this headache, right, but I didn’t feel tired.”

Siniakova, who had never made a Grand Slam fourth round in 18 tries, saved seven break points while converting three of six chances against Osaka. The Czech gets American Madison Keys in the round of 16.

Osaka was bidding to join Serena Williams as the only women to win three straight majors in the last 21 years. She was undone by 38 unforced errors to Siniakova’s 13. Osaka, who has never made a clay-court final nor the second week at the French Open, will retain the No. 1 ranking.

“There has been a weight on me, kind of,” she said when asked of any pressure associated with the number next to her name. “I wasn’t ranked one last year. I was ranked 70. … Last year I would have been happy to get to the third round [at the French Open. I mean, it would have been normal.

“It’s weird, but I think me losing is probably the best thing that could have happened. I think I was overthinking this, like, calendar slam. For me this is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I think I have to think about it like if it was that easy, everyone would have done it.”

The draw opens up for Williams, who could have played Osaka in the quarterfinals. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champ plays countrywoman Sofia Kenin later Saturday. Defending champion Simona Halep is also into the fourth round in the top half.

The bottom half is less imposing, with No. 7 Sloane Stephens the only remaining top-10 seed.

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

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Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

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Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

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Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

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Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

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MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement