Naomi Osaka
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Naomi Osaka is world’s highest-paid female athlete; two women in top 100

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Naomi Osaka supplanted Serena Williams as the world’s highest-paid female athlete. They are the only two women on the list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes, according to Forbes.

Osaka, the 22-year-old who won the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open, earned $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements in the last year, $1.4 million more than Williams and an all-time record for a female athlete, breaking Maria Sharapova‘s record $29.7 million in 2015, according to the report.

Forbes put Osaka No. 29 and Williams No. 33 on its annual list of 100 highest-paid athletes, which it will release in full next week. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, there was either one or zero female athletes in the top 100.

A tennis player has been the highest-paid female athlete on the list (when there has been a woman on the list) every year for the last two decades, including an 11-year run for Sharapova and Venus Williams and Martina Hingis before that.

Osaka reached No. 1 in the world after the 2019 Australian Open that January. She is now ranked No. 10, having lost in the third round, first round, fourth round and third round of the last four Grand Slams.

She is one of Japan’s most well known athletes going into the Tokyo Olympics, five years after being among the highest-ranked eligible female singles players to not make the Rio Olympic field.

MORE: Osaka can bring Japan tennis to forefront, 100 years after Olympic success

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Serena Williams battles, then rolls into French Open second round

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Serena Williams overcame early struggles, sweeping past countrywoman Kristie Ahn 7-6 (2), 6-0 to reach the French Open second round.

Williams, again eyeing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, started out like somebody who went 16 months between clay-court matches. She needed 74 minutes to take the first set from the 102nd-ranked Ahn, recovering twice after having her serve broken.

She dominated the second set in 27 minutes, advancing to play Bulgarian and fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova, a rematch of their three-set U.S. Open quarterfinal three weeks ago.

Williams, in long sleeves and tights, had 15 winners to 28 unforced errors in the first set in cloudy, sub-60-degree weather on Monday.

“I hate the cold. I’m from L.A. and I live in Florida,” Williams said before the tournament, which was postponed from its usual May/June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic. “For half my life I’ve never seen snow. Cold weather and me do not mix.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Williams also noted before the tournament that she was “not at 100 percent physically” and spent most of her time in France “rehabbing” without giving specifics. She took a medical timeout with a left Achilles injury in her last match, a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka,

“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform,” Williams said Saturday. “I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with.”

Earlier Monday, newly crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem rolled 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up, next gets American Jack Sock, a former top-10 player now ranked No. 310. Sock took out countryman Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for his first main draw win at the French Open in four years.

Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title and male record-tying 20th Grand Slam singles title later Monday.

The French Open first round concludes Tuesday with top-ranked Novak Djokovic in action.

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay sets date to resume

Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay
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The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will resume on March 25 and follow its originally planned route and schedule, starting in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Organizers are discussing torch relay modifications given the coronavirus pandemic. Possible changes include the number of officials and staff involved and reducing the size of vehicle convoys.

As it stands, the relay will visit all 47 prefectures of Japan with emphasis on the area affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will visit the three prefectures most affected by the tsunami and earthquake (Fukushima (March 25-27), Iwate (June 16-18) and Miyagi (June 19-21)) for three days each.

The relay leads up to the Opening Ceremony on July 23.

The torch relay originally began last March 12 in Olympia. The Greek portion of the relay, originally scheduled for eight days, was called off on March 13 due to the pandemic after actor Gerard Butler was among the torch bearers in Sparta.

An unexpectedly large crowd gathered in Sparta despite recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony.

The flame remained in Greece until it was flown to Japan as scheduled on March 20.

On March 24, it was announced the Tokyo Games were postponed to 2021. The Japan portion of the torch relay was suspended, too, two days before it was to start.

MORE: USA Swimming updates 2020 competition schedule

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