Vashti, Randall Cunningham bid for Olympic sibling history may be more likely in 2021

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It appeared Vashti Cunningham and her older brother, Randall II, were very hopeful to become the first brother-sister duo to make a U.S. Olympic track and field team in 32 years.

Vashti, who made the Rio Olympic high jump team at age 18, won her first U.S. outdoor title in 2017. Randall, as a USC senior, cleared a personal-best 2.29 meters at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships, a height that would rank fourth among Americans outdoors that year.

Randall would win the NCAA title with that clearance, but he also fractured a tibia planting on a jump at the meet. It required surgery. He hasn’t competed since, according to World Athletics.

Vashti continued her ascent by earning bronze at the 2019 World Championships.

Then the Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021.

“Mixed emotions,” said the siblings’ father, retired NFL All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, who also coaches Vashti. “On the one hand, I’m thinking, we’re prepared and ready to go. Vashti’s ready. On the other hand, with my son Randall II coming back, it gives him time to heal up a little bit more and get adjusted to jumping again.”

Vashti and her father spoke from Las Vegas with Mike Tirico on “Lunch Talk Live” on Monday.

The Cunninghams could become the first brother-sister pair to make a U.S. Olympic track and field team since the 1980s — notable pairs Al Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Carl Lewis and Carol Lewis — according to Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Also in the 1980s: The elder Cunningham finished his high jump career in high school, clearing 6 feet, 10 inches, to stay in shape for football. That’s about three inches taller than Vashti’s personal best and eight inches shorter than his son’s best.

“I don’t compare to my kids,” he said. “I was OK. I wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship for track and field. They train a lot harder than I did back then.”

Vashti trains and competes in unique fashion. She participates sparingly on the Diamond League circuit and about 10 times per year total.

“We’re trying to preserve her,” her dad said. “I’m not trying to burn her out as a young kid. She’s only 22 years old.”

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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.

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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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