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At the U.S. Open, three moms make quarterfinals for first time at a Slam

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History was made on Labor Day at the U.S. Open, where three moms advanced to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in the professional era.

Serena Williams, Tsvetana Pironkova and Victoria Azarenka all won fourth-round matches in New York in a first since at least 1968, win the Open Era began, according to the tournament.

Williams, the third seed seeking a 24th Grand Slam singles title, began the day by battling past Greek Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3. Williams has played at least one match at the U.S. Open with 3-year-old daughter Olympia in the small crowd.

“I just have a totally new respect for moms,” she said between her third- and fourth-round matches. “I would never have thought I would be playing as a mom. … The pluses is that, one day your daughter can say she was there. Whether she remembers or not, we can always have pictures. But other than that, it’s just minus, like, I’m not with her. I’m not around her. It’s hard.”

Later in the afternoon, the Bulgarian Pironkova dispatched Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to set up a Wednesday quarterfinal with Williams.

Pironkova, who had son Alexander in April 2018, is playing her first tournament of any kind in three years. She returned to tennis training eight months ago and is bidding to go 10 years between Grand Slam semifinal appearances.

“Everything in mothering, I guess, it’s helped me,” Pironkova said. “Obviously you become a different person. You don’t focus on yourself that much anymore, like your focus is primary on your child. And I guess that’s a good thing. I’m a lot more organized, as well. Mentally, I have more mental endurance, also. Physically, I know my body better.”

Finally, at about 10:30 p.m., the former world No. 1 but now unseeded Azarenka rallied past 20th-seeded Czech Karolina Muchova 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

Azarenka, who won two Australian Opens and made 16 total Grand Slam quarterfinals before having son Leo in December 2016, is into the last eight of a major for the first time as a mom.

“I don’t know if I feel different just because as a mother,” the Belarusian said. “I don’t identify myself on the tennis court as a mother. I still identify myself as a tennis player. Me being in the quarterfinals, I didn’t get there by being a parent. I got there by being a tennis player. But it feels amazing that I can share this moment, and hopefully be a good role model to my son.”

Other moms excelled in tennis.

Australian Margaret Court won the last three of her 24 Grand Slam singles titles as a mom. Countrywoman Evonne Goolagong Cawley won 1980 Wimbledon, three years after childbirth.

Belgian Kim Clijsters returned from childbirth and retirement to win the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011. Clijsters unretired again this year, after seven years away, and lost in three sets in the U.S. Open first round.

“For the past seven years, I’ve been a full-time mom, and I love it. I really, really do,” Clijsters said when she announced a comeback last September. “But I also loved being a professional tennis player. And honestly, I miss that feeling. So … what if I tried to do both? Could I be loving mum to my three kids and the best tennis player I can possibly be? Let’s do this.”

US OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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Coco Gauff eliminated from French Open

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PARIS (AP) — American teenager Coco Gauff’s French Open debut ended in the second round after she double-faulted 19 times in a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 loss to 159th-ranked qualifier Martina Trevisan.

Gauff double-faulted twice in the last game of the 2-hour, 11-minute match.

The 16-year-old Gauff has reached at least the third round at the other three major tournaments.

For Trevisan, a 26-year-old from Italy, this was her first victory in a Grand Slam match played to its conclusion.

She lost in the first round at the Australian Open this year in her first appearance at a major, then advanced Sunday at Roland Garros when her opponent, Camila Giorgi, stopped playing in the second set because of an injury.

Against Gauff, Trevisan kept yelling, “Yes!” and “Let’s go!” in Italian between points, then let out a high-pitched scream when the match ended.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier, Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the third round by beating American player Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.

The No. 2-seeded Spaniard is looking to win his record-extending 13th French Open title and equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 major titles overall.

Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros to 95-2 when he sealed victory on his first match point. He next faces 74th-ranked Stefano Travaglia of Italy.

Sebastian Korda has now beaten two tour veterans in his first French Open.

After eliminating Andreas Seppi in his opening main draw match, the 20-year-old American qualifier took out 21st-seeded John Isner in the second round with a 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win.

A former junior world No. 1 and winner of the boys title at the 2018 Australian Open — and the son of 1992 French Open finalist Petr Korda — Korda broke Isner’s normally dominant serve five times.

The No. 213-ranked Korda will next face either Mikhail Kukushkin or qualifier Pedro Martinez on Friday.

Also, No. 27-seeded American Taylor Fritz reached the third round by serving 16 aces in a straight-set victory over Radu Albot.

MORE: Serena Williams ‘struggling to walk’

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Final postponed

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The Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual international figure skating competition, will not take place as scheduled in December in Beijing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Skating Union announced Wednesday that the Final was postponed.

There were “a number of logistical points raised by potentially participating teams that meant that hosting the competitions on the scheduled dates (close to the end of year holidays and national championships) would have impacted on the number of participants, given the potential need to quarantine on returning to their home country,” according to the ISU.

The ISU is “evaluating the continuation” of the upcoming season and possible rescheduling of the competition in China, which doubles as a 2022 Beijing Olympic test event.

The Grand Prix Final, held every December after the six-event Grand Prix Series, is the biggest indicator of Olympic and world championships medal prospects.

The Grand Prix Series is still scheduled to start with Skate America in Las Vegas from Oct. 23-25.

Fields have not been announced, but skaters are restricted to compete at the event in their home nation or in or near their training location.

The ISU also announced that the remaining World Cup short track speed skating stops in 2020 were postponed or canceled — Seoul and Beijing, both in December.

Previously, the first short track World Cups in November were canceled. All four of the long-track speed skating World Cups scheduled this fall were also canceled.

The next scheduled World Cup short- or long-track events are in February.

MORE: Alysa Liu grows on the ice and adds inches, too

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