Rafael Nadal sweeps Roger Federer, reaches French Open final

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Rafael Nadal‘s first match with Roger Federer at the French Open in eight years finished just like all the others: a Nadal victory to extend his dominance on the Roland Garros red clay.

Nadal, eyeing a 12th French Open title, swept Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach Sunday’s final (9 a.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app). He will play No. 1 Novak Djokovic or No. 4 Dominic Thiem. Thiem led Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 3-1 before forecasted rain stopped play for the day. Their match will resume Saturday (6 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Nadal broke Federer in the Swiss’ first service game and six times total for the match. He’s 6-0 against Federer at the French Open, including finals wins in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

Federer entered the blustery semifinal having won the last five matches of their rivalry, but they had not met since 2017. Nadal beat Federer for the first time since the 2014 Australian Open, improving to 24-15 against the player he calls the greatest ever. It’s 14-2 in Nadal’s favor on clay.

In addition to all the stats, Friday’s wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour played a role in this.

“You get to a point where you’re just happy to make shots and not look ridiculous,” Federer said. Red clay whipped into players’ and fans’ faces. “It just adds to the equation. He’s the best clay-court player, so I can accept that.”

Now, Nadal is one match win from moving within two Slams of Federer’s total (20 to 18) for the first time since 2004, when Federer had two and Nadal had none. But Nadal has played 14 previous Grand Slams with a chance to move within two of Federer and failed each time.

“Five years ago, we would not have envisioned being at this level of our career with that level of tennis,” Nadal said of a rivalry that’s now spanned 15 years. “For the tournament and for Federer, the fact that Federer is back on clay and competitive again, it’s something important. And I think that he will go away with good sensations, because he fought very well to win Roland Garros.”

Federer, at 37 returning to Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, may have played the French Open for the last time.

“Next year, just like with any other tournament, I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. But I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and the French Open, so that would help the chances, I guess, to return to the clay.”

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

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Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

Eddy Alvarez
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Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

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Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

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Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

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