Jen Brady into U.S. Open semifinals, continuing stellar 2020

Jen Brady
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Just a handful of years ago, Jen Brady was playing low-level tournaments, losing in the first round of qualifying, sharing rooms and finding ways to save a buck here and there.

“I was thinking, OK, do I have a chance to make it?” she said. “Will I make it? How can I really succeed doing this? Am I meant to play this sport?”

She’s made it. On Tuesday, Brady advanced to the U.S. Open semifinals, into the final four of a Grand Slam for the first time at age 25.

Brady, the 28th seed, swept 23rd seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2 to reach a semifinal against 2018 U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka. Brady hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament.

“I’m pretty lucky to have just stuck to it,” a reflective Brady said.

Before this week, her best major runs came in 2017, when she made the fourth round at the Australian Open and U.S. Open, three years after turning pro out of UCLA.

Brady is the first former college player to reach the U.S. Open women’s semifinals since Oklahoma State’s Lori McNeil in 1987. The first years out of college in the mid-2010s were difficult. It took her three years to reach her first Grand Slam main draw, getting eliminated in qualifying five times.

Brady, citing improved fitness, has been strong this season, starting with defeating top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia before the pandemic. Last month, she won her first WTA title in Lexington, Ky., to become a seeded player at a Slam for the first time.

Still, she was nervous going into her first Slam quarterfinal against Putintseva, whom she had never beaten. And at (an albeit largely empty) Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she won just one game in her previous appearance in the fourth round in 2017 against Karolina Pliskova.

“Today, honestly, I was feeling like I was going to poop my pants,” Brady said.

She is the oldest American woman to make a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since Marianne Werdel at the 1995 Australian Open. She also ensures that an American woman is in the U.S. Open semifinals for a 14th straight year.

Serena Williams could join her. She plays fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

US OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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Jim Hines, Olympic 100m gold medalist and first to break 10 seconds, dies

Jim Hines

Jim Hines, a 1968 Olympic 100m gold medalist and the first person to break 10 seconds in the event, has died at age 76, according to USA Track and Field.

“I understand that God called him home today and we send the prayers up for him,” was posted on the Facebook page of John Carlos, a 1968 U.S. Olympic teammate, over the weekend.

Hines was born in Arkansas, raised in Oakland, California and attended Texas Southern University in Houston.

At the June 1968 AAU Championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first person to break 10 seconds in the 100m with a hand-timed 9.9. It was dubbed the “Night of Speed” because the world record of 10 seconds was beaten by three men and tied by seven others, according to World Athletics.

“There will never be another night like it,” Hines said at a 35th anniversary reunion in 2003, according to World Athletics. “That was the greatest sprinting series in the history of track and field.”

Later that summer, Hines won the Olympic Trials. Then he won the Olympic gold medal in Mexico City’s beneficial thin air in 9.95 seconds, the first electronically timed sub-10 and a world record that stood for 15 years.

Hines was part of a legendary 1968 U.S. Olympic track and field team that also included 200m gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and Carlos, plus gold medalists Wyomia Tyus (100m), Bob Beamon (long jump), Al Oerter (discus), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Lee Evans (400m), Madeline Manning Mims (800m), Willie Davenport (110m hurdles), Bob Seagren (pole vault), Randy Matson (shot put), Bill Toomey (decathlon) and the men’s and women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m relays.

After the Olympics, Hines joined the Miami Dolphins, who chose him in the sixth round of that year’s NFL Draft to be a wide receiver. He was given the number 99. Hines played in 10 games between 1969 and 1970 for the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

He remains the only person to have played in an NFL regular season game out of the now more than 170 who have broken 10 seconds in the 100m over the last 55 years.

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the top hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw