WATCH LIVE: French Open men’s semifinals

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic bids to return to the French Open final, live on NBC Sports on Friday.

Djokovic, the top seed and 17-time Grand Slam champion, plays fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in second semifinal at Roland Garros. The winner gets Rafael Nadal or Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s final.

Nadal and Schwartzman started playing at 9 a.m. ET on Friday. NBC Sports’ coverage begins at 11 a.m. on NBC (live on the East Coast) and NBCSN (live across the nation) and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

WATCH LIVE: French Open men’s semifinals, 11 a.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Djokovic, undefeated in 2020 save his infamous U.S. Open default, didn’t drop a set in Paris until his four-set quarterfinal against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Serbian showed up to that match with tape on the back of his neck, saw a trainer for an arm/shoulder problem, then declined to elaborate, though he said he felt less pain as the match went on.

Djokovic can move one Slam title shy of Nadal and two behind Roger Federer‘s male record of 20. Djokovic, at 33, is one year younger than Nadal and six years younger than Federer, who didn’t play the French Open after two knee surgeries.

Djokovic can also do something that neither Nadal nor Federer has accomplished: complete a second sweep of all four Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic won his previous French Open title in 2016.

NBC’s live French Open coverage continues Saturday with the women’s final at 9 a.m. ET between American Sofia Kenin and Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”