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Up to 70 Russian athletes could face doping charges

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MOSCOW (AP) — The number of Russian athletes accused of receiving banned treatments from a doctor could rise to 70, the country’s anti-doping agency said Wednesday.

The agency, known as RUSADA, previously said Monday it would file cases against 33 athletes from numerous sports suspected of receiving banned intravenous infusions.

RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus said that is just the “first package” of cases and a planned second package could take the number to 70.

The cases are all linked to a sports academy in central Russia’s Chuvashia region, a major center for track and field. RUSADA said many of the athletes were underage when they were given the infusions and some come from cycling, skiing and Paralympic sports.

They come as Russia seeks to have its ban from international track and field lifted in time to field a full team at the world championships in September and October. The Russian track federation has been banned since 2015 for widespread doping, though dozens from the country are allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

Ganus accused the Russian track federation, known as RusAF, of prioritizing cosmetic reforms over real cultural change.

“Over the course of four years we’ve spent a lot of time presenting athletics in a beautiful condition,” Ganus said. “We have enough material to say that RusAF cannot be reinstated in its current condition.”

Ganus also revealed that RUSADA is under two investigations from Russian authorities into its own conduct.

Ganus said Russian prosecutors were investigating a complaint that RUSADA employees exceeded their authority while looking into whether high jumper Danil Lysenko presented forged medical documents as an alibi for failing to notify drug testers of his whereabouts. Ganus said he believed the case originated with a complaint from someone unhappy with RUSADA’s work on doping cases.

The other matter involves tax authorities looking into a contract signed between RUSADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency, Ganus said.

RUSADA was reinstated by WADA last year, in the face of criticism from some Western athletes who believed Russia had not done enough to reform. Since then, RUSADA has increased its level of drug testing and pursued high-profile investigations into cases such as that of Lysenko and of seven athletes accused of training in secret in Kyrgyzstan with a banned coach.

MORE: Russia’s top track and field athlete slams ‘never-ending disgrace’

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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