Simone Biles takes a six-year win streak into what will likely be her last world championships all-around final, live on NBCSN and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Thursday morning.
Biles, who led the U.S. to a team title Tuesday for her female record-breaking 21st world medal, is a massive favorite to bag her fifth world all-around title. No other woman has more than three world all-around crowns.
Biles beat the field in qualifying by 2.266 points, which is larger than the greatest women’s all-around margin of victory in world championships history (which she owns, from last year).
Scores start from zero again in the final, though.
Biles, expected to retire after the Tokyo Olympics, can move one medal shy of the overall world championships record of 23 held by 1990s Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo. She has four more event finals Saturday and Sunday.
If she has any competition Thursday, it will likely come from a teammate. Sunisa Lee, a 16-year-old in her first year as a senior gymnast, is the other American in the final.
Lee was second at the U.S. Championships in August, second at the world team selection camp in September and second again in qualifying last week. At the world camp, she was just .35 of a point behind Biles, who fell off the uneven bars. For perspective, nobody has been within one point of Biles in an official day of all-around competition in five years.
Last year’s silver and bronze medalists — Japan’s Mai Murakami and American Morgan Hurd — are not competing at worlds. An American joined Biles on the podium for all of her previous Olympic and world all-around titles.
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.