Simona Halep looks every bit the French Open favorite, routs Amanda Anisimova

Simona Halep
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Simona Halep began the French Open as the favorite. She’s consolidated that status through the first week.

Halep aced her first seeded test of the tournament, dumping No. 25 Amanda Anisimova 6-0, 6-1 in a 54-minute third-round match. A year ago, an 18-year-old Anisimova stunned Halep 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals to end the Romanian’s title defense.

On Friday, Halep played like retribution was on her mind. She committed just seven unforced errors to Anisimova’s 32.

“I felt motivated,” the No. 1 seed said. “I took the game in my hands. Last year I was very far from the court, and I played fairly short so she could play her game. When she has time, and she has the ball in the right position, she is very, very dangerous.”

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Halep hasn’t dropped a set in three matches as she seeks a third Grand Slam singles title in as many years. She next gets 54th-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland.

Halep became a bigger favorite at Roland Garros before play began after 2019 champion Ash Barty and recent U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka announced they would not play.

With Serena Williams‘ withdrawal Wednesday, Halep is the only player left in the top half of the draw who has made a major final.

“I don’t feel the pressure,” Halep said. “I’m not thinking about title.”

She has been lights-out since competition picked up back in the summer, winning both of her tournaments. Both happened to be on clay. She skipped the U.S. Open, staying in Europe and focusing on the terre battue.

“I feel my game very well,” Halep said Friday. “I feel that I can stay forever on court.”

Also Friday, Rafael Nadal continued his dominant march toward a potential 13th French Open title and 20th Grand Slam singles title to tie Roger Federer‘s male record. Nadal swept Italian Stefano Travaglia 6-1, 6-4, 6-0. He gets American Sebastian Korda in the fourth round on Sunday.

“I don’t feel that I am that dominant,” said Nadal, who has dropped an average of six games in three matches. “The result says, but the game is another story. Every single match is a challenge.”

Korda, the 20-year-old son of 1998 Australian Open champ Petr Korda, became the youngest U.S. man to reach the fourth round since Michael Chang in 1991. He defeated a fellow qualifier, Spaniard Pedro Martinez, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem marched into the fourth round by sweeping dangerous clay-courter and 28th seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up, next gets French wild card Hugo Gaston. Gaston knocked out 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

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

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Fred Kerley wins 100m at Rabat Diamond League in early showdown

Fred Kerley

World champion Fred Kerley won the 100m in an early season showdown at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Kerley clocked 9.94 seconds, beating a field that included Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, who remains the world’s fastest man this year (9.84 from May 13) and world bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell. Omanyala was third in 10.05 on Sunday, while Bromell was fifth in 10.10.

Kerley has run three 100m races this year and broke 9.95 in all of them, a promising start as he bids to repeat as world champion in Budapest in August.

Full meet results are here.

The Diamond League season continues with a meet in Florence, Italy, on Friday, live on Peacock. The headline event is the men’s 100m including Kerley and Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy. Kerley and Jacobs were due to go head to head in Rabat, but Jacobs withdrew last Thursday due to nerve pain.

Earlier, Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway comfortably took the 1500m in 3:32.59. American Yared Nuguse surged to place second in a personal best 3:33.02 in his Diamond League debut after running the world’s second-fastest indoor mile in history in February.

Jamaican Rasheed Broadbell ran down world champion Grant Holloway in the 110m hurdles, prevailing 13.08 to 13.12 into a headwind. Holloway remains fastest in the world this year at 13.03.

Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, the Olympic and world champion, finished eighth in the 800m won by countryman Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Wanyonyi, 18, is the world’s fastest in 2023.

American Shamier Little won the 400m hurdles in 53.95, becoming second-fastest in the world this year behind countrywoman Britton Wilson. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world champion and world record holder, has yet to compete this outdoor season and so far has strictly committed to flat 400m races in future meets. McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the world championships 400m hurdles but may run the flat 400m there instead.

In the 400m, Olympic champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won in 44.70, while world bronze medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain pulled up about 50 meters into the race.

Also Sunday, world bronze medalist Anna Hall improved from No. 3 to No. 2 on the U.S. all-time heptathlon list with 6,988 points to win the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria. Only Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the world record holder at 7,291, has scored higher among Americans.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

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.

Turning 22 during the tournament, 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 most recent match with a right thigh injury last week 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, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes 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