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U.S. routs Japan by 53 points at FIBA World Cup; Giannis, Greece next

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The U.S. men’s basketball team rebounded from near defeat to crush Japan by 53 points at the FIBA World Cup on Thursday.

It routed Japan 98-45, two days after a one-point overtime win over 17th-ranked Turkey. The U.S. won all three of its first-round group games to advance to a second round of group play.

A full box score is here.

The 53-point margin of victory came just shy of the U.S. record margin of 59 points over Finland in 2014. The record is for the Dream Team era, since teams of NBA superstars started playing at major international tournaments in 1992. The U.S. led by as much as 62 late in the fourth quarter.

The overall U.S. record margin is a 79-point win over South Korea in 1990.

Next up: Greece, led by NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greeks finished second in their group behind Brazil.

“We go as far as Giannis goes,” said Greek teammate Nick Calathes, a former University of Florida standout who played for the Memphis Grizzlies between stints with Greek power Panathinaikos, formerly coached by Rick Pitino.

The top two teams from the second-round group of the U.S., Greece, Brazil and the Czech Republic advance to the quarterfinals next week. The points from the first round of group games carry over.

“He is the MVP, but at the same time, they do have other great players on that team,” said U.S. swingman Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo’s teammate on the Milwaukee Bucks. “It’s not just all about Giannis.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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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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