Simona Halep stunned at French Open as women’s draw bursts

Simona Halep
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An already upside-down French Open took another tumble early Sunday.

The Nos. 1 and 5 women’s seeds were upset by unseeded players within a half-hour of each other to start the fourth round.

Simona Halep, the top seed and French Open favorite, was stunned by 54th-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland.

Swiatek, 19, prevailed 6-1, 6-2, earning her first win over a top-15 player and ending Halep’s 17-match win streak dating to February.

Halep played better than the score suggests, committing just 15 unforced errors. But Swiatek had 30 winners to 20 unforced errors.

“She was everywhere,” said Halep, who trounced Swiatek 6-1, 6-0 in their only previous meeting, in the same round at the French Open last year. “It’s not easy to take it, but I’m used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Swiatek is into a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time.

“I’m more experienced, I can handle the pressure,” said Swiatek, whose father, Tomasz, rowed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for Poland. “I [have] grown up to play a match like that and to win it.”

She next gets 159th-ranked Italian Martina Trevisan, who had to win three matches in qualifying just to reach the main draw. Trevisan dumped fifth seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4, leaving No. 3 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine the only seed in the top half of the draw.

Halep, the 2018 champion at Roland Garros, was the last woman in the draw who had French Open final experience.

Now, at least one woman will make her Grand Slam final debut next Saturday from a draw turned on its head by upsets in the first week. Only three seeds in the bottom half made the round of 16 — No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 7 Petra Kvitova and No. 30 Ons Jabeur.

Rafael Nadal continued the march of the top male players, sweeping American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. He hasn’t dropped a set or been pushed to a tiebreak in four matches.

The 12-time champion should next get his first test — to some degree — against promising Italian 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, who ousted No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

“It will be a big challenge,” Nadal said of Sinner, who won the 2019 Next Gen Finals for players 21 and under and beat sixth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas on clay last month. “I practice with him a couple of times. He has an amazing potential. He move the hand very quick, and he’s able to produce amazing shots.”

No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem outlasted 239th-ranked Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3 to make the quarterfinals. Thiem, runner-up to Nadal at the last two French Opens, gets 12th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday. Schwartzman beat Nadal in a clay-court event last month.

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

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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