Novak Djokovic takes broom, sweeps French Open opponent

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic is into the second week of a Grand Slam in his 13th straight major start, while Sofia Kenin extended a U.S. streak to nine years at the French Open.

Djokovic crushed 153rd-ranked Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to reach the fourth round.

Maybe the most interesting moment of the match came during a 15-minute rain-forced delay to close the roof, when Djokovic briefly took a broom and helped sweep the crushed red clay at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic, the top seed whose only loss in 2020 came when he was defaulted for inadvertently hitting a U.S. Open linesperson with a ball he struck in anger, next gets 15th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov on Monday.

Djokovic hasn’t lost more than three games in any of his first nine sets at Roland Garros, where he eyes a second French Open title and an 18th Grand Slam title to move within one of Rafael Nadal and within two of the absent Roger Federer on the career list. His 15 total games lost in the first three rounds ties Nadal’s record for players since 2000, according to Gracenote.

Djokovic will not play second-seeded Nadal, the 12-time French Open champion, until a possible final a week from Sunday.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Saturday, No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin ensured a U.S. woman made the second week of the French Open for a ninth straight year, sweeping Romanian qualifier Irina Bara 6-2, 6-0.

Kenin, the Australian Open champion, won the last 12 games of the match after dropping the first two.

She gets another unseeded player, Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, in the fourth round on Monday.

“I feel like I should get deep in a tournament,” said Kenin, the highest seed remaining in her half of the draw. “I’m a bit hard on myself. It’s a little bit different mindset now coming into the slams [after winning the Australian Open].”

Tennis’ stoppage in March due to the coronavirus pandemic was particularly tough for Kenin. She had just broken through in Melbourne, plus won a tournament in the last week before the sport was shut down.

“I was quite devastated what happened, of course what’s going on around the world. But speaking about myself, it was obviously devastating,” she said. “Obviously I was looking forward to the American swing and all the American tournaments. I felt like I was playing some of my best tennis, and just all of it shut down.”

Kenin was later joined in the last 16 by countrywoman Danielle Collins, who upset 11th seed Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 26 minutes and was played on two different courts due to rain. Collins, 26, is into the second week of a major for the second time, following up her surprise 2019 Australian Open semifinal run.

Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, was the favorite in the bottom half of the draw. Instead, Collins gets 30th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

A U.S. woman has reached the round of 16 at the last 24 majors, dating to 2014. The last time that didn’t happen at Roland Garros was 2011, a tournament that didn’t include Venus or Serena Williams.

Kenin, who knocked out Serena Williams in the third round in Paris last year, has reached at least the round of 16 in all three majors this year.

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Hail Ilia Malinin’s first U.S. figure skating title for six-quad ambition, Jason Brown’s advice


SAN JOSE, California – Ilia Malinin clearly will have mixed emotions when he remembers winning his first U.S. figure skating title.

That was apparent from his reaction after finishing Sunday’s free skate.

The 18-year-old with limitless potential and seemingly limitless confidence had been rattled by his worst free skate of the season.

He shook his head sadly. Then he shook it again.

“Of course, this wasn’t the skate I wanted, but there’s always ups and downs, and you just after get over it and move on,” Malinin said.


He planned the hardest technical program anyone ever had attempted, with six quadruple jumps and two challenging combinations in the second half of the four-minute program. And he gamely kept trying to execute it, even after significant mistakes that would leave him second to surprising Andrew Torgashev in the free skate.

Malinin (287.74 total points) still finished comfortably ahead of the evergreen Jason Brown (277.31). Torgashev was third overall at 256.56.

Malinin skated with doggedness rather the dynamism that infused his brilliant short program Friday, by far his best short program of the season.

“I think I was just a little bit sluggish, and I just wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen,” he said.

Malinin fell on his opening jump, the quadruple Axel, then reeled off three other quads flawlessly. He popped two other planned quads into doubles, then turned his final jumping pass, planned as a sequence of two jumps, into an unprecedented triple Lutz-triple Axel-triple toe loop sequence. For context: only Malinin has done a triple Lutz-triple Axel sequence.

“I think its’s not that I was planning too much,” he said. “I think it was I wasn’t really prepared for this amount. And it was mostly because we were focusing on that short program.”

Brown, 28, who first competed at senior nationals 12 years ago, skated magnificently. If it weren’t for a fall on his ambitious final free skate jump, a triple flip coming out of a knee slide, Brown’s overall performance in both the short and free would have been as good as any he had done in the U.S. Championships.

With his longevity and insight, Brown, a two-time Olympian and seven-time national medalist (gold in 2015) was able to put what had befallen Malinin into accurate perspective and encourage him not to lose confidence over it.

Brown heard the press conference questions Malinin was getting over what went wrong, questions both legitimate and expected, and he wanted his younger teammate not to dwell on them.

“You did a triple Lutz-triple Axel-triple toe at the end of your program, and I did a knee slide and could barely stand up to do the flip,” Brown said to Malinin, sitting next to him at the dais.

“The way you keep pushing the sport is incredible. So don’t stop being you.”

Malinin, an unexpected second at last year’s nationals, came here under a spotlight brighter than any he had experienced, largely due to his history-making success earlier this season as the first to land a quad Axel in competition.

For all his disarming bravado, evidenced by choosing quadg0d as his social media name, Malinin is not immune to the pressure of a big event and his position as favorite.

“There is an amount of experience (necessary) that it takes time to get,” Brown said. “I’ve been through it all. I’ve had a lot of ups, I’ve had a lot of downs. As you (Malinin) said, it’s how you take this experience and learn from it and grow from it. That’s what you’re going to do.”

Both Malinin and Brown leave Monday to perform eight shows in three Swiss cities over 11 days with the Art on Ice tour. They are both expected to be on the U.S. team for the world championships this March in Japan.

Malinin leaves with the title and the satisfaction of not having minimized risk given his big lead after the short program.

“This was an opportunity for me to try this new layout,” Malinin said. “Of course, it didn’t go off the best. We’ll take advice from this and look forward to worlds.”

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 12 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record with slopestyle gold

Mark McMorris

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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