Mikaela Shiffrin ends decade with another win, record-breaking streak


Mikaela Shiffrin finished the decade with a fitting, record-breaking victory in Lienz, Austria, on the eighth anniversary of her first World Cup podium at the same venue.

Shiffrin won a slalom to make it back-to-back victories in the Austrian Dolomites after Saturday’s giant slalom triumph. She prevailed by .61 of a second over Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swiss Michelle Gisin was third, 1.72 seconds behind.

Full results are here.

“When I saw Petra go in the second run … I was like, oh, no, I can’t ski it that fast,” said Shiffrin, who led Vlhova by. 26 after the first run, then skied the finale immediately after Vlhova posted the then-fastest time in the second run. “She’s been one of the girls that when I’m skiing really well, she’s skied better, and not from luck.”

Vlhova is the only woman other than Shiffrin to win a traditional World Cup slalom in nearly three years, beating Shiffrin on four occasions (while Shiffrin won 19).

“It’s really difficult. She is all the time perfect, like today, she did both runs perfect,” Vlhova said. “Second place is good, but I always want to do better, but today she was the best.”

Shiffrin became the first man or woman to make 14 straight traditional World Cup slalom podiums (without sitting out a race), extending a streak that dates to the PyeongChang Olympics. Shiffrin won all but one of those slaloms.

With her 43rd World Cup slalom win, Shiffrin also tied Lindsey Vonn for the most victories in a single discipline for a woman. Vonn bagged 43 downhills. Swedish legend Ingemark Stenmark holds the overall mark with 46 giant slalom titles.

For the decade, Shiffrin earned 71 wins and 101 podiums in 182 races among the Olympics, world championships and the World Cup. That’s a winning percentage of 39 and a podium percentage of 55.

Those percentages increase if counting only slaloms and starting the time frame from Shiffrin’s first World Cup podium on Dec. 29, 2011 in Lienz.

Sunday also provided a winning end to an eventful year for Shiffrin, both on and off the course.

While she set a new best mark with 17 World Cup wins in the 2018-19 season and won two world titles, she moved into a new house and saw a two-year relationship with French skier Mathieu Faivre come to an end.

“I feel like I learned a lot, I feel like it’s been emotional. I have gone through a lot of changes and transitions in my life,” she said. “I feel like I grew up a lot this last year. I feel like I was 17 last year and all of a sudden I am 24.”

The women’s World Cup moves to Zagreb for another slalom on Saturday (10 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shiffrin among 10 dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s decade

French Open doubles team disqualified after tennis ball hits ball girl

2023 French Open

French Open doubles player Miyu Kato and her partner were forced to forfeit a match when Kato accidentally hit a ball girl in the neck with a ball after a point on Sunday.

In the second set on Court 14 at Roland Garros, Kato took a swing with her racket and the ball flew toward the ball kid, who was not looking in the player’s direction while heading off the court.

At first, chair umpire Alexandre Juge only issued a warning to Kato. But after tournament referee Remy Azemar and Grand Slam supervisor Wayne McEwen went to Court 14 to look into what happened, Kato and her partner, Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, were disqualified.

That made Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain the winners of the match.

“It’s just a bad situation for everyone,” Bouzkova said. “But it’s kind of something that, I guess, is taken by the rules, as it is, even though it’s very unfortunate for them. … At the end of the day, it was the referee’s decision.”

Bouzkova said she did not see the ball hit the ball girl, but “she was crying for like 15 minutes.”

She said one of the officials said the ball “has to do some kind of harm to the person affected” and that “at first, (Juge) didn’t see that.”

Bouzkova said she and Sorribes Tormo told Juge “to look into it more and ask our opponents what they think happened.”

During Coco Gauff’s 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 singles victory over Mirra Andreeva on Saturday, Andreev swatted a ball into the Court Suzanne Lenglen stands after dropping a point in the first set. Andreev was given a warning by the chair umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct but no further penalty.

“I heard about that. Didn’t see it,” Bouzkova said. “I guess it just depends on the circumstances and the given situation as it happens. … It is difficult, for sure.

In the quarterfinals, Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo will face Ellen Perez of Australia and Nicole Melichar-Martinez of the United States.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!