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Coco Gauff eliminated in U.S. Open first round

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Coco Gauff dismissed that it made any difference. But as she rallied from a one-set hole in the U.S. Open first round for a second straight year, this much was noticeable: silence.

Gauff, the 16-year-old U.S. tennis sensation, was eliminated on the opening day of a fan-less major by No. 31 seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

It was no upset. Sevastova is ranked six spots higher than No. 51 Gauff.

But it took the 30-year-old Latvian four match points to finish Gauff, who had already rebounded from a 2-4 hole in the second set. As a grinding third set wore on, it conjured memories of Gauff’s trio of three-setters from 2019 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, all of which she won.

But this one was different. The atmosphere — the screeching of train cars in Queens replaced the raucous Louis Armstrong Stadium crowds pulling for Gauff a year ago. And the result — Gauff’s first defeat in the first round of a Grand Slam in her fourth main-draw appearance.

“I compete just as hard with fans or not,” said Gauff, who had 13 double faults and 40 unforced errors. “I could have played better today.”

US OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

The environment was a new experience for everybody. No ticketed spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, and few people at all watching in person.

Gauff could have been reminded of her not-too-distant junior days before she burst onto the scene last summer, becoming the youngest woman to reach Wimbledon’s fourth round since Jennifer Capriati and the youngest to reach the U.S. Open third round since Anna Kournikova.

“I just got on tour a little over a year ago, so I still have a lot to learn and a long ways to go,” she said. “I’m playing against people older than me who have been in more situations, difficult situations, than I have. I think the biggest thing is I just need experience.”

She will get that. Gauff, who is also entered in doubles, will after the U.S. Open head to Europe for her first French Open main-draw appearance. She won her one and only junior Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.

She showed precociousness off the court on June 3, delivering a speech off the cuff at a peaceful protest in her Florida hometown, demanding change and promising to use her platform to spread vital information.

“This summer I learned a lot about myself,” Gauff said Monday. “I learned that I can overcome a lot of things on and off the court. I still hope I can be that way and use my platform in that way.”

Sevastova moved to 2-8 for 2020, the wins over Gauff and Serena Williams. The Latvian marveled at Gauff’s movement, awareness and backhand.

“It’s uncomfortable to play her,” said Sevastova, a 2018 U.S. Open semifinalist. “I wish I would play like this when I was 16 years old.”

Williams begins another quest for a 24th Grand Slam singles title on Tuesday. She will hope to have better luck than the group of U.S. women who have gone 1-8 so far. A total of 31 Americans are in the 128-player draw, the most since 1993.

MORE: Seven U.S. Open players put in ‘bubble in the bubble’

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2020 Tour de France standings

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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TOUR DE FRANCE: TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage | Favorites, Predictions

Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia win Tour de France for the ages

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A Tour de France that almost didn’t happen ended up among the most exciting in the race’s 117-year history.

Tadej Pogacar, a 21-year-old Slovenian, rode into Paris on Sunday as the first man in more than 60 years to pedal in the yellow jersey for the first time on the final day of a Tour.

Let’s get the achievements out of the way: Pogacar is the first Slovenian to win the Tour, finishing with the other overall leaders behind stage winner Sam Bennett on the Champs-Elysees.

“Even if I would come second or last, it wouldn’t matter, it would be still nice to be here,” Pogacar said. “This is just the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with the words.”

He is the second-youngest winner in race history, after Henri Cornet in 1904. (Cornet won after the first four finishers were disqualified for unspecified cheating. The 19-year-old Frenchman rode 21 miles with a flat tire during the last stage after spectators reportedly threw nails on the road.)

Pogacar is the first man to win a Tour in his debut since Frenchman Laurent Fignon in 1983.

And he’s part of a historic one-two for Slovenia, a nation with the population of Houston.

Countryman Primoz Roglic, who wore the yellow jersey for nearly two weeks before ceding it after Saturday’s epic time trial, embraced Pogacar after a tearful defeat Saturday and again during Sunday’s stage.

Tasmanian Richie Porte, who moved from fourth place to third on Saturday, made his first Tour podium in his 10th start, a record according to ProCyclingStats.com. The age range on the Paris gloaming podium — more than 13 years — is reportedly the largest in Tour history.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Standings | TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage

Three men on a Tour de France podium in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, each for the first time. Hasn’t been done since 2007, arguably the first Tour of a new era.

This Tour feels similarly guard-changing.

It barely got off, delayed two months by the coronavirus pandemic. Two days before the start, France’s prime minister said the virus was “gaining ground” in the nation and announced new “red zones” in the country, including parts of the Tour route.

Testing protocols meant that if any team had two members (cyclists or staff) test positive before the start or on either rest day, the whole team would be thrown out.

It never came to that. Yet the Tour finishes without 2019 champion, Colombian Egan Bernal, who last year became the first South American winner and, at the time, the youngest in more than 100 years.

Bernal abandoned last Wednesday after struggling in the mountains. His standings plummet signaled the end, at least for now, of the Ineos Grenadiers dynasty after five straight Tour titles dating to Chris Froome and the Team Sky days.

Jumbo-Visma became the new dominant team. The leader Roglic was ushered up climbs by several Jumbo men, including Sepp Kuss, the most promising American male cyclist in several years.

What a story Roglic was shaping up to be. A junior champion ski jumper, he was concussed in a training crash on the eve of what would have been his World Cup debut in 2007. Roglic never made it to the World Cup before quitting and taking up cycling years later.

As Roglic recovered from that spill in Planica, Pogacar had his sights on the Rog Ljubljana cycling club about 60 miles east. Little Tadej wanted to follow older brother Tilen into bike racing, but the club didn’t have a bike small enough.

The following spring, they found one. Pogacar was off and pedaling. In 2018, at age 18, he was offered a contract and then signed with UAE Team Emirates, his first World Tour team. The next year, Pogacar finished third at the Vuelta a Espana won by Roglic, becoming the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Pogacar was initially slated to support another rider, Fabio Aru, for UAE Emirates at this year’s Tour. But his continued ascent propelled him into a team leader role.

Bernal and Roglic entered the Tour as co-favorites. After that, Pogacar was among a group of podium contenders but perhaps with the highest ceiling.

He stayed with the favorites for much of the Tour, save losing 81 seconds on the seventh stage, caught on the wrong end of a split after a crash in front of him.

“I’m not worried,” Pogacar said that day. “We will try another day.”

The next day, actually. He reeled back half of the lost time, putting him within striking distance of Roglic going into Saturday’s 22-mile time trial, the so-called “race of truth.”

Pogacar put in a performance in the time trial that reminded of Greg LeMond‘s epic finale in 1989. Pogacar won the stage by 81 seconds, greater than the margin separating second place from eighth place. Roglic was a disappointing fifth on the day, but he could have finished second and still lost all of his 57-second lead to Pogacar.

Pogacar turns 22 on Monday, but that might not add much to the celebration.

“Sorry,” he said, “but I’m not really a fan of my birthdays.”

MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

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