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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J’den Cox repeats as world wrestling champion; Kyle Snyder stunned

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If he wasn’t crowned already, it’s clear U.S. wrestling has a new king.

On a day when Rio Olympic champion Kyle Snyder was upset and London Olympic champ Jordan Burroughs rallied for another bronze medal, J’den Cox repeated as world champion in Kazakhstan.

Cox, the Rio Olympic 86kg bronze medalist, completed a perfect run through the 92kg division — not giving up a point in four matches — by dominating Iranian Alireza Karimi 4-0 in the final. He became the second U.S. man to win an Olympic or world title without surrendering a point in more than 30 years (joining Kyle Dake from last year).

“I don’t know why, but it feels like a ton better [than 2018],” said Cox, whose tattoos include one that reads in Latin, “If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.” “I made more sacrifices … I wanted to do it better.”

Earlier Saturday, Snyder was shocked by Azerbaijan’s Sharif Sharifov 5-2 in the 97kg semifinals, denying a third straight world final between Snyder and Russian Tank Abdulrashid Sadulayev. Sharifov, the 2012 Olympic 84kg champ, clinched his first world medal in eight years.

Snyder, who in Rio became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at age 20, failed to make an Olympic or world final for the first time in his career. He will wrestle for bronze on Sunday, while Sharifov meets Sadulayev for gold.

Burroughs earned his seventh straight world championships medal and second straight bronze. Burroughs, the 2012 Olympic 74kg champion, rebounded from losing to Russian Zaurbeck Sidakov on Friday with a 10-0 technical fall over Japanese Mao Okui.

Burroughs gave up a lead on Sidakov with 1.3 seconds left in the semifinals, a year after Sidakov overtook him as time expired in the quarterfinals.

“A lot of people in 2016 called me a quitter,” said Burroughs, who tearfully missed the medals in Rio, “and I think that after watching the amount of devastation and heartbreak that I’ve taken over the last two years and still being able to come back and take third place is a testament.”

Burroughs, 31, shares third with Adeline Gray on the U.S. list of career world wrestling championships medals, trailing only Bruce Baumgartner and Kristie Davis, who each earned nine.

Burroughs’ bronze ensured he gets a bye into the 74kg final of the Olympic trials in April. But this will be the first time he goes into an Olympic year as anything other than a reigning world champion.

“At this juncture of my career, I feel I’m running out of time,” said Burroughs, who next year will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic wrestling champion. “That can be really scary.”

Dake marched to Sunday’s final in defense of his 2018 World title at 79kg (a non-Olympic weight) by going 23-4 over three matches. Dake, who at Cornell became the only wrestler to win NCAA titles at four weight classes or without a redshirt, gets Azerbaijan’s Jabrayil Hasanov in the final, a rematch of the 2018 gold-medal match.

Next year, Dake must move up to 86kg, where Cox will likely reside, or down to 74kg, where Burroughs has won every U.S. Olympic or world trials dating to 2011. There’s also David Taylor to reckon with. Taylor won the 86kg world title last year but missed this season due to injury.

“We’ve got a guy at 79 kilos that’s going to win a world championship tomorrow,” Burroughs said, smiling, of Dake, “I’m hopefully going to be waiting for [Dake at Olympic trials], healthy and prepared.”

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Alexandra Trusova, 15, becomes first woman to land three quadruple jumps

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Alexandra Trusova established herself as the world’s leading female figure skater … in her first senior international competition.

Trusova, the 15-year-old, two-time world junior champion from Russia, became the first woman to land three quadruple jumps in one international competition program, posting the world’s highest free skate and total scores on the early season.

Trusova previously landed three quads in the free skate at the Russian Federation’s test skates in early September.

She opened Saturday’s free skate with a quadruple Lutz, a quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination and another quad toe to run away from Japanese Olympian Kaori Sakamoto by 44.27 points. Video is here.

She won a lower-level event in Slovakia with 238.69 points, which would have beaten Japan’s top skater, Rika Kihira, and Olympic bronze medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva by more than 14 points at an event last week in Canada. However, judging panels can be more or less forgiving from event to event.

Still, Trusova established herself as a force going into next month’s Grand Prix season. She will face Kihira and Medvedeva at Skate Canada the last week of October.

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MORE: 2019 Senior Grand Prix assignments