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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2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Milan-Cortina winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm-Are.

After Winter Games in Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022), they return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006.

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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