WATCH LIVE: French Open women’s final

Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek
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Sofia Kenin can become the first American to win a second Grand Slam title since Serena Williams in 2002, facing Iga Swiatek in the French Open final, live on NBC Sports on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET.

Kenin, a 21-year-old who won the Australian Open in February, looks to finish a breakthrough season.

The task is tall. Poland’s Swiatek may be ranked 54th, second-lowest of any women’s French Open finalist, but she hasn’t dropped a set in six matches in Paris.

WATCH LIVE: French Open women’s final, 9 a.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Swiatek, 19, has been the favorite since Sunday, when she swept pre-tournament favorite Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 to make her first major quarterfinal. The last woman to win the French Open without dropping a set, or facing a tiebreak, was Justine Henin in 2006 and 2007.

A Polish woman has never won a Grand Slam singles title.

Kenin, the fourth seed, contrastingly grinded to reach the final. She needed three sets to win four of her first five matches before sweeping two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals.

Kenin, in her third full season as a Grand Slam player, can wrap up WTA Player of the Year honors by becoming the first woman to win multiple majors in one year since Angelique Kerber in 2016.

NBC’s live French Open coverage concludes Sunday with the men’s final at 9 a.m. ET between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

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.”