Novak Djokovic into French Open quarterfinals after brief linesperson scare

Novak Djokovic
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In a briefly, frighteningly reminiscent scene, Novak Djokovic stretched out his right arm to return a serve in his French Open fourth-round match against Russian Karen Khachanov. Djokovic got his racket on the ball, but it careened directly into a service linesperson’s mask-covered face.

Fortunately, the linesperson appeared to be fine. Djokovic checked on the official sitting across from the service line, and play continued.

“My gosh, it was very awkward déjà vu,” Djokovic said in obvious reference to his U.S. Open fourth-round default last month. “I’m actually trying to find the linesperson and see if he’s OK because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him. I hope he’s fine. I mean, he definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way.”

The top seed Djokovic went on to sweep the 15th seed Khachanov 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, advancing to the quarterfinals without dropping a set in four matches. He next gets 17th seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, the man on the other side of the net for that lamentable U.S. Open incident.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

The only foe to defeat Djokovic in 2020 was his own temper.

In this same fourth round at the U.S. Open last month, Djokovic struck a ball in at least frustration, arguably anger, after having his serve broken. The ball struck a linesperson in the throat, though it was not his intention. He was defaulted from the tournament for what happened, given he struck a ball outside of in-match play that hit an official.

Djokovic was at no fault for what happened Monday, when a well-placed serve gave him little control over his return shot. These things happen.

“Obviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this,” he said. “It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I’ve been on the tour. I’ve seen it a lot when the ball ricochets from the racket and the frame, hits someone in the stands, or someone that is close to you or line umpire. Yeah, it was a very awkward situation obviously.”

Djokovic continued a march to what could be a showdown with Rafael Nadal in a Sunday final. The Serbian is going for his 18th Grand Slam singles title, which would move him one behind Nadal and two behind male record holder Roger Federer.

Nadal eyes a 13th French Open crown, which would tie him with Federer in the total major titles count for the first time since they both had zero.

Also Monday, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 13 Andrey Rublev advanced to play each other for the second time since the French Open began. They meet in a Wednesday quarterfinal, 10 days after they played in a clay-court final in Hamburg, Germany, on the same day that play started at Roland Garros.

The Tsitsipas-Rublev winner could play Djokovic in the semifinals.

In the women’s draw, No. 4 Sofia Kenin rallied past 49th-ranked Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, with 17 winners and four unforced errors in the last set. Kenin, the Australian Open champion, gets No. 30 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia or 57th-ranked American Danielle Collins in the quarterfinals.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made her first French Open quarterfinal in eight years. She gets 66th-ranked German Laura Siegemund.

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final