Novak Djokovic upset by Dominic Thiem in French Open semifinals

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Novak Djokovic‘s bid for a fourth straight Grand Slam title — to achieve the feat for the second time in his career — ended in the French Open semifinals.

Dominic Thiem derailed Djokovic, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, in a match that started Friday and finished Saturday and was delayed four times overall. Thiem, the No. 4 seed from Austria, plays No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the French Open final a second straight year (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app).

“He is the favorite, of course,” Thiem said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, to let everything out on the court again. We’ll see.”

Thiem blew two match points on his serve before breaking Djokovic three games later for the win.

The top-ranked Djokovic lost at a Slam for the first time since little-known Italian Marco Cecchinato served the upset in the 2018 French Open quarterfinals.

After that, Djokovic picked himself up from being ranked outside the top 20 and reeled off his first Slam titles since 2016: Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open to run his total to 15, just two behind Nadal and five behind Roger Federer.

But now it’s Thiem who has the great opportunity, the chance to end Nadal’s pursuit of a 12th French Open title. It didn’t go so well last year, when Thiem won nine games total and was swept by the Spaniard in the final.

Thiem is one of two men to make at least four semifinals at one Grand Slam but never win any Grand Slam titles (Tim Henman, Wimbledon).

But this year, Thiem beat Djokovic, Nadal (on clay!) and Federer (twice, including from a set down in the Indian Wells final for his biggest career title). He may be the best player yet to win a major, and, at 25, his time may be now.

“He showed why he’s one of the best players in the world,” on Saturday, Djokovic said.

It would be a monumental run, taking out the best player of the moment and the greatest French Open champion of all time. Nobody has beaten Djokovic and Nadal in back-to-back matches (let alone back-to-back days) at a Slam. Nadal also benefits from a full day’s rest more than Thiem.

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

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Tahiti chosen for Olympic surfing competition at 2024 Paris Games

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Paris 2024 Olympic organizers want the surfing competition to be held in Tahiti, an island in French Polynesia that is about 9,800 miles from Paris.

It would break the record for the farthest Olympic medal competition to be held outside the host. In 1956, equestrian events were moved out of Melbourne due to quarantine laws and held five months earlier in Stockholm, some 9,700 miles away.

The Paris 2024 executive board approved the site Thursday — specifically, the village of Teahupo’o — and will propose it to the IOC. It beat out other applicants Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes and La Torche, all part of mainland France.

Surfing will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games but is not on the permanent Olympic program. Surfing was among sports added to the Paris 2024 program in June and could be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

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Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

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Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

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