Tatyana McFadden
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Paralympic programming set for primetime over the next 3 weeks

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A total of 58 hours of Paralympic programming air on NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA over the next three weeks.

It starts Wednesday and Thursday with eight hours of Rio Paralympic events on NBCSN, starting at 7 ET each night.

Coverage includes U.S. gold-medal victories in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball finals and women’s sitting volleyball. Also, the U.S.’ double-overtime defeat in the wheelchair rugby final, 59-58 to Australia. And highlights from swimming and track and field, where the U.S. earned 81 combined medals and 31 golds.

NBC Sports’ Ahmed Fareed will also host Instagram Live chats on the NBC Olympics account with Rio Paralympians in advance of each night’s broadcast.

Wednesday, 6:30-7 p.m.: Jessica Long (Swimming), Megan Blunk (Basketball), Trevon Jennifer (Basketball)
Thursday, 6:30-7 p.m.: Tatyana McFadden (Track and Field), Katie Holloway (Volleyball), Chuck Aoki (Rugby)

Starting June 29, Olympic Channel airs seven straight nights of 2019 World Para Swimming Championships coverage.

The U.S. took 35 total medals and 14 golds, led by Leanne Smith, who won three individual titles, all in American record times.

Olympic Channel airs seven straight nights of 2019 World Para Track and Field Championships starting July 6. The U.S. earned 34 medals, including 12 golds.

American stars included sprinter Deja Young, who earned 200m and universal 4x100m relay golds, plus 100m silver behind countrywoman Brittni Mason, who broke Young’s world record. Other notable champions included Roderick Townsend (high jump, plus long jump silver) and Daniel Romanchuk (800m, less than a week after winning the New York City Marathon wheelchair division).

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MORE: Paralympic swim hopeful builds backyard pool

RIO PARALYMPICS

DAY EVENT TIME (ET) NETWORK
Wednesday Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Final 7 p.m. NBCSN
Best of Swimming 8:30 p.m. NBCSN
Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Final 9:30 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday Women’s Sitting Volleyball Final 7 p.m. NBCSN
Best of Track & Field 8 p.m. NBCSN
Wheelchair Rugby Final 9 p.m. NBCSN

2019 WORLD PARA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

DATE EVENTS TIME (ET) NETWORK
Mon., June 29 Day 1 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Tues., June 30 Day 2 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Wed., July 1 Day 3 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Thurs., July 2 Day 4 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Fri., July 3 Day 5 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sat., July 4 Day 6 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sun., July 5 Day 7 8 p.m. Olympic Channel

2019 WORLD PARA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

DATE EVENTS TIME (ET) NETWORK
Mon., July 6 Day 1 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Tues., July 7 Day 2 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Wed., July 8 Day 3 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Day 4 11 p.m. Olympic Channel
Thurs., July 9 Day 5 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Fri., July 10 Day 6 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sat., July 11 Day 7 8 p.m. Olympic Channel
Day 8 11 p.m. Olympic Channel
Sun., July 12 Day 9 8 p.m. Olympic Channel

 

Coco Gauff upsets 9th seed to start French Open

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Coco Gauff notched yet another impressive Grand Slam match win, taking out ninth seed Jo Konta in her French Open main draw debut on Sunday.

Gauff, a 16-year-old American, upset the Brit Konta, a 2019 French Open semifinalist, 6-3, 6-3 on the first day of play at Roland Garros despite 12 double faults. Konta had 41 unforced errors to 22 winners.

“Every match is a great win,” said Gauff, the youngest player in either singles draw. “I don’t really take anything for granted because I’m just happy to be playing. I don’t think maybe winning Slams, matches at Slams is something I’m used to. Especially, this is my first main draw Roland Garros. When I’m on the court. I can act like I’m used to it. When I’m off the court, I’m just happy to be here.”

The clay-court Slam was postponed from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, is being held with damp temperatures in the 50s and has limited spectators to 1,000 per day.

“I’m pretty sure this is my first ever pro tournament, maybe even tournament in general, playing in weather like this,” said Gauff, noting she warmed up for 20 minutes before going on court so she could walk in with a sweat.

Gauff, the 2018 French Open junior champion, gets Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan in the second round after playing a match in leggings for the first time in about six years.

She’s coming off an impressive last year-plus, reaching the fourth round at the most recent Wimbledon and Australian Open. In between, she became the youngest WTA tournament champion since 2004. She recorded wins over Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka.

Gauff will bid over the next nine months to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team outright by being among the top four Americans in WTA rankings after the 2021 French Open. Therefore, her result at this French Open will not count toward Olympic qualifying.

She is currently ranked 51st overall and eighth among Americans.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Sunday, Williams finished her 2020 with a third first-round loss in as many Grand Slam tournaments — 6-4, 6-4 to Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

With the WTA’s autumn Asian swing canceled, Williams said she won’t play before next season starts in Australia.

Williams, 40 years old and ranked 76th, will need a scintillating start to 2021 to make the U.S. Olympic team in singles. She is currently the 14th-highest-ranked American. If she doesn’t make it in singles, Williams (or Gauff) could be chosen as a doubles-only player for the Tokyo Games.

Top seed Simona Halep took the last 10 games of her 6-4, 6-0 win over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo. Halep, who is on a 15-match win streak dating to February, could play Gauff in the quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, Stan Wawrinka swept Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle of three-time major champions and a rematch of their life-changing 2017 semifinal in Paris.

“I need to have a long, hard think about it,” Murray said. “I don’t feel like the conditions are an excuse for it.”

It marked Murray’s first match on clay since that semi, won by Wawrinka in five sets. After that match three years ago, Wawrinka underwent two knee surgeries and Murray had two hip surgeries. Neither has made a Grand Slam semifinal since, and Murray nearly retired due to hip problems.

U.S. men went 3-0 on Sunday after winning one match total at the 2019 French Open.

The most notable victor: Sebastian Korda, the 20-year-old son of Czech 1998 Australian Open winner Petr Korda and brother of Nelly Korda, the world’s second-ranked female golfer.

Korda beat Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to become the youngest U.S. man to win a French Open main-draw match since 18-year-old Andy Roddick defeated Michael Chang in 2001.

Korda, after his first tour-level win, gets John Isner in the second round.

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, each trying to tie Grand Slam singles titles records, play first-round matches on Monday.

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

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Julian Alaphilippe wins world road race title with late attack

Julian Alaphilippe
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Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win a road cycling world title in 23 years, attacking late and holding on to prevail by 24 seconds in Imola, Italy, on Sunday.

Alaphilippe, who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for 16 stages between the last two years, went clear from a star-filled group at the top of the last climb with about eight miles left of a 160-mile day.

“It was a dream of my career, you know,” said Alaphilippe, whose best previous worlds finish was eighth. “I came here with, for sure, a lot of ambition. It’s just a dream day for me.”

Belgian Wout van Aert took silver, followed by Swiss Marc Hirschi in a five-man bunch sprint for the last two medals. Van Aert also earned silver in the time trial on Friday.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who was second in the Tour de France, finished sixth in the same time as the silver and bronze medalists after more than six and a half hours of racing.

The top American was Sepp Kuss in 52nd place, 12:35 behind.

Full results are here.

The last Frenchmen to win world titles were Laurent Brochard (road race) and Laurent Jalabert (time trial) in 1997.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who won the Tour de France last Sunday, attacked with 26 miles left. He led by as much as 25 seconds before being reeled back in with about 13 miles to go.

The cycling season continues with the last two Grand Tours, each starting later than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Giro d’Italia begins Oct. 3, and the Vuelta a Espana starts Oct. 20, before the Giro finishes.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes