The U.S. men’s basketball team may not have any NBA superstars at the FIBA World Cup, but it still comfortably handled its first opponent, the Czech Republic, on Sunday in China.
The Americans overcame early shooting struggles to eventually cruise 88-67, kicking off a bid for an unprecedented third straight world title. They will also qualify for the Tokyo Olympics by finishing as one of the top two nations from North and South America.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell had a team-high 16 points, while Kemba Walker, one of two 2019 NBA All-Stars on the roster, had 13. A full box score is here.
Next up on Tuesday is Turkey, the highest-ranked nation of the U.S.’ three opponents in the first round of group play. Turkey, ranked 17th, made the quarterfinals of the last three World Cups, including taking silver to the U.S. in 2010. Turkey’s roster includes NBA veteran Ersan Ilyasova.
The Americans wrap up opening group play on Thursday against Japan, which is already qualified for the Olympics as the host nation.
The top two teams from each group advance to a second phase of group play with four teams in four groups that determines the quarterfinalists.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland is favored to claim a third French Open title, a year after beating American Coco Gauff in the final. She bids to join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win the French Open three or more times since 2000.
Two Americans are ranked in the top six in the world — No. 3 Jessica Pegula and Gauff.
The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.