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FIBA Men’s World Cup: Tokyo Olympic qualifying picture

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The U.S. men’s basketball team is vulnerable, in case you haven’t heard. But if the vital goal of the FIBA World Cup is Olympic qualification, the margin for error expands.

Group play begins Saturday in China. A total of 32 nations (expanded from 24 in the last Olympic cycle) compete in China for not only the quadrennial world title (which the U.S. won the last two times), but also the first Tokyo Olympic qualifying berths.

The minimum task for the U.S. in simple: finish as one of the top two teams out of seven from North and South America to book a Tokyo 2020 spot. The others are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

The U.S. is notably without NBA superstars. Just one man on the roster has Olympic experience, and two were All-Stars last season. But the rest of the Americas’ best are also not all they could be.

Canada might have the most NBA options of any nation outside the U.S., but Andrew Wiggins, RJ BarrettJamal Murray and Tristan Thompson are all absent.

Argentina, traditionally the No. 2 team from the Americas, has been on a slide as its Golden Generation fades away. The lone remaining player from its 2004 and 2008 Olympic medalist teams is 39-year-old Luis Scola. The Argentines went a combined 6-6 at the last World Cup and Olympics.

In all, seven teams from the World Cup will qualify for the Olympics: Africa (1), Americas (2), Asia (1), Europe (2), Oceania (1). Japan is already in as host. The final four teams will qualify at a last-chance event next year, meaning the World Cup is not the be-all, end-all.

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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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