In one sense, the U.S. men’s basketball team finished the FIBA World Cup how it had hoped — with a victory. It just didn’t envision that coming in the seventh-place game.
The U.S. beat Poland 87-74 to cap its worst-ever tournament result in China on Saturday. Previously, the U.S.’ worst performance was sixth at the 2002 Worlds at home in Indianapolis.
The Americans rebounded from back-to-back losses against France in the quarterfinals and Serbia in the consolation round to take out Poland, which sent a team to an Olympics or a worlds for the first time since 1980.
Donovan Mitchell, one of the most consistent Americans in the tournament, had a team-high 16 points and 10 assists. Kemba Walker, the team’s most recognizable player, sat out with a sore neck. A full box score is here.
It’s possible next year’s 12-man roster looks completely different at the Tokyo Olympics given the World Cup included two 2019 NBA All-Stars (Walker and Khris Middleton) and one player with Olympic experience (Harrison Barnes).
If nobody drops out, the U.S. player pool would include LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Anthony Davis.
“For some of us, potentially all of us, it could be the last time we wear a USA jersey,” Barnes said after the loss to Serbia on Thursday.
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.
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.