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Maria Sharapova exits Wimbledon; Serena, Federer, Nadal advance

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Maria Sharapova retired from her first-round match at Wimbledon with a left wrist injury while trailing 5-0 in the third set.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion served for the match while leading 5-3 in the second set but lost to Pauline Parmentier of France 4-6, 7-6 (4), 5-0.

Sharapova, who was unseeded at the All England Club for the first time since her debut in 2003, called for a medical timeout after the second set and a trainer put some taping on her wrist. She called for the trainer a second time in the third set, and stopped just after Parmentier served for the 5-0 lead.

“I’ve had a history of a tendon in my left forearm flaring up,” Sharapova said. “It happened today in the second set.

“I probably couldn’t have gotten through the whole final set, but I did my best.”

This year’s Wimbledon was only Sharapova’s second tournament since January following shoulder surgery. She lost in the second round in Mallorca last month.

Also Tuesday, Serena Williams opened her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title with a straight-set victory on Centre Court.

The seven-time champion at the All England Club beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy 6-2, 7-5.

Williams, who lost in the Wimbledon final last year, is short on matches and training time this season, factors she cited after her third-round exit at the French Open, her most recent tournament.

Williams has been dealing with an injured left knee. She said on Saturday she has been “feeling better” and her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said the 37-year-old American “doesn’t have pain anymore.”

The 31-year-old Gatto-Monticone was making her debut in Wimbledon’s main draw.

“I haven’t felt this good in months, almost five months,” Williams said. “Right now I have to have every match count, like 10 matches, because I haven’t had a ton of matches this year.”

Roger Federer rallied after losing the first set against an opponent playing his first tour-level match on grass.

Federer shrugged off an early deficit to beat Lloyd Harris of South Africa 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Centre Court as he began his search for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title.

“Once I got going, just legs weren’t moving and things were not happening,” Federer said. “You know, it is always, yeah, slightly unusual first, let’s say, two to three matches maybe, here at Wimbledon, they’re always so different to any other court in the world, the way the ball bounces, the kick goes or doesn’t go.”

Harris was making his debut at the grass-court Grand Slam but rode his powerful serve to a one-set lead. But Federer dominated after that, breaking his opponent twice in each of the next three sets and serving out the match with an ace.

Playing his first match since winning his 12th French Open title, Rafael Nadal had little trouble in making the switch from clay to grass.

Nadal began his search for a third Wimbledon title by beating Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on No. 1 Court to reach the second round.

Nadal was broken in the opening game but dominated after that, breaking his opponent six times and served out the match when Sugita sent a return long. He will next face Nick Kyrgios.

Last year, the Spaniard reached the semifinals at the All England Club for the first time since 2011 before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in five sets.

However, former women’s champion Garbine Muguruza is heading home early again.

Muguruza lost to Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round, making for a second straight early exit for the Spaniard since winning the title in 2017. She lost in the second round last year.

American Sam Querrey, a 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist, ousted two-time French Open runner-up and fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-0. Thiem lost in the first or second round in five of his six Wimbledons.

WIMBLEDON: Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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Dominik Paris, world champion skier, suffers season-ending injury

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Italian Dominik Paris, the reigning world champion in the super-G, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in a training crash Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s speed races in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

Paris crashed in super-G training not far from the hallowed World Cup venue, slipping into a curve and damaging his right knee. He also suffered a fibula microfracture, according to the Italian federation.

“My season ends here,” he said, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS). “Unfortunately while I was sliding, the inside ski caught too much and the ligament broke. There is not much to add. In the next few days we will evaluate, together with the medical staff, how to proceed.”

Paris won his third Hahnenkamm downhill title last year and was one of the favorites for Saturday’s downhill, the most prestigious annual race in the sport. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage for “Snow Pass” subscribers at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Paris, 30, won a pair of downhills in Bormio in December among five total podiums this season.

In his absence, Swiss Beat Feuz and German Thomas Dressen lead the podium contenders.

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It’s Nathan Chen’s time at nationals for a feat 32 years in the making

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Nathan Chen can join Brian Boitano in U.S. figure skating history this week, a decade after holding Boitano in the palm of his hands with a program set to music from “Kung Fu Panda.”

Chen seeks a fourth straight national title in Greensboro, N.C. He would be the seventh man to do so since World War II. Five of the previous six won Olympic titles — Dick Button, Hayes Jenkins, David Jenkins, Scott Hamilton and, most recently, Brian Boitano from 1985-88.

Boitano remembered the first time he met Chen. He and Kristi Yamaguchi were compelled to leave their seats to find the teeny, tiny wunderkind who performed that program to the 2008 DreamWorks film.

“He was taking off his skates, and he probably came up to our waist,” Boitano said. “We knew when we saw him back then that he was going to be something special. He was really quiet. He’s still very quiet.”

In an interview last week, Chen focused on the present — coming back from a two-week cold or flu bug — rather than the perspective.

“I don’t like to typically think about that,” Chen said when asked about his streak. “It’s just different [from year to year]. It’s not really necessarily easier or harder.”

It is also different from previous eras. The last five men to win four in a row did it all in one Olympic cycle, then stepped away from competition after the Winter Games. That was back when turning professional meant the end of an Olympic career.

“It was kind of the norm back then,” Hamilton said. “After that it was kind of back and forth a lot [until Chen]. The business of skating changed so skaters could stay in a lot more, a lot longer. With all the money they brought in, they were able to prevent skaters from turning professional. So that brought in a different approach to nationals.”

NATIONALS PREVIEWS: Nathan Chen | Alysa Liu | Vincent Zhou | Pairs | TV Schedule

Both Hamilton and six-time (non-consecutive) U.S. champion Todd Eldredge could think of just one name to compare Chen’s dominance in the history of U.S. men’s skating: Button, who won the first seven national titles after World War II, plus two Olympic golds.

Button earned national and world titles as a Harvard student. Chen is on a two-season win streak while majoring in statistics and data science at Yale. Button was the first skater to land a double Axel and a triple jump of any kind. Chen was the first to land six quads in one free skate.

Eldredge coaches skaters at the same rink where Chen trains when Chen visits his Southern California-based coach Rafael Arutunian. He is awed by watching Chen working out. Though Eldredge owns more national titles, he never felt the massive favorite status that accompanies Chen.

Eldredge competed in the post-Hamilton/Boitano era, when national champions began competing over multiple Olympic cycles. Eldredge ebbed and flowed from his first national title in 1990, when compulsory figures were still around, to 2002, when he defeated Timothy Goebel, then known as the Quad King.

“Physically, the demands of the sport take their toll on your body,” Eldredge said. “It’s hard to maintain that same level for that length of period of time.

“[In] 12 years [since Chen’s first national title], when he’s 29 years old, is he going to be able to continue to sustain that?”

All of the recent top U.S. men competed in multiple Olympic cycles. The last multiple national champion was Jeremy Abbott, who earned two titles each in two different Olympic cycles. Abbott finished his career in a third Olympic cycle, placing fifth at the 2015 U.S. Championships. Abbott didn’t remember that Chen made his senior nationals debut that year, finishing eighth at age 15.

“For me, winning the third and the fourth [titles] were harder because I started thinking about winning,” Abbott said. “After the second one, I was heading into a new quad and I was two-time U.S. champion. Then my focus was, oh, I’m expected to win. So that was a harder mental game rather than just focusing on making an Olympic team. The expectation now that I’ve done this twice in a row, I’m expected to win again and again and again.”

Abbott and Chen came up in the era of the points-based judging system instituted in 2004.

“Now with the way the scoring system is very different [from the old 6.0], cumulative points, if you have a bad day as a national champion, that’s it. You can’t get the points,” Eldredge said. “[In previous eras], if a certain skater was, I’ll say politically supposed to be the champion, you got a higher score, and rightfully so in most cases.”

Chen has the benefit of going into competitions knowing the kind of advantage he has in base value points from his jumping arsenal. He won last year’s national title by 58 points. This international season, he is 80 points clear of the next-highest-ranked U.S. man, Jason Brown.

“I don’t think that the try-to-push technique is necessarily my goal here,” at nationals, Chen said. “Hopefully just to maintain my body, maintain my health and try to prepare myself for the second half of the season.”

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As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.