Ramon Zenhaeusern goes from 8th to win season’s first slalom

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Slalom
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ALTA BADIA, Italy — Ramon Zenhaeusern won the first men’s World Cup slalom of the season on Monday, improving from eighth position after the opening run.

The Swiss skier beat two Austrians — Manuel Feller and Marco Schwarz — for his fourth career win, but first since March 2019.

First-run leader Alex Vinatzer dropped to fourth in the Italian’s first World Cup race after having surgery for appendicitis less than four weeks ago.

Zenhaeusern was 0.52 seconds off the lead after the first run and posting the 10th fastest time in the final run was enough for the win, 0.08 ahead of Feller and 0.12 ahead of Schwarz.

“It was so tight after the first run, I had to push full on,” Zenhaeusern said.

“I was really, really nervous, because I hadn’t raced since nearly 11 months. And now this, it’s really good. It shows you that all the work in these 11 months pays off.”

Daniel Yule and Michael Matt, who were second and third after the opening run, dropped to seventh and 15th, respectively, though they remained within a second of Zenhaeusern’s winning time.

Alexis Pinturault was 0.77 behind in 11th and the Frenchman strengthened his top position in the overall standings, as his main rival, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, doesn’t compete in slalom.

Slalom World Cup champion Henrik Kristoffersen finished sixth.

Slowed by tough snow conditions on the Gran Risa course, many favorites seemed surprised by their finishing times, with some racers shrugging their shoulders or spreading their arms in disbelief.

However, Feller improved from 13th by clocking the second-fastest time in the final run.

The Austrian struggled with persistent back problems last season, and he screamed “He is here again!” as soon as he crossed the finish.

“This is the most emotional moment of my career. Last season was incredibly exhausting and incredibly hurtful,” he said, adding the result gave him “satisfaction.”

“I thought my run might be good enough for fifth place and I would have been super happy with that,” said Feller, who has five career podium results but is yet to win a race.

Schwarz completed the strong showing of the Austrian team, trailing Feller by four hundredths in third.

Austria is still chasing a first win in a slalom or GS since record eight-time overall champion Marcel Hirscher retired in 2019.

Vinatzer lost his first-run lead as he posted the 23rd time in the final run, missing the podium by seven hundredths in fourth.

The Italian had surgery in November and missed a parallel World Cup event in Austria.

He attempted a comeback to racing in a slalom on the lower-ranked European Cup circuit last week but failed to finish his opening run of the event in Val di Passa, before skipping a second race at the same resort the following day.

But Vinatzer looked back to his best upon his return to the World Cup on Monday.

Competing on the World Cup since 2017, Vinatzer has recorded three top-10 results, with a third-place finish in Zagreb, Croatia in January his personal best.

The men’s slalom season is starting late following changes to the usual calendar amid anti-coronavirus measures.

A night slalom is scheduled in Madonna di Campiglio on Tuesday. A TV and live stream schedule is here.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek set French Open rematch

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff swept into the French Open quarterfinals, where she plays Iga Swiatek in a rematch of last year’s final.

Gauff, the sixth seed, beat 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round. She next plays the top seed Swiatek, who later Monday advanced after 66th-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko retired down 5-1 after taking a medical timeout due to illness.

Gauff earned a 37th consecutive win over a player ranked outside the top 50, dating to February 2022. She hasn’t faced a player in the world top 60 in four matches at Roland Garros, but the degree of difficulty ratchets up in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Swiatek won all 12 sets she’s played against Gauff, who at 19 is the only teenager in the top 49 in the world. Gauff said last week that there’s no point in revisiting last year’s final — a 6-1, 6-3 affair — but said Monday that she should rewatch that match because they haven’t met on clay since.

“I don’t want to make the final my biggest accomplishment,” she said. “Since last year I have been wanting to play her, especially at this tournament. I figured that it was going to happen, because I figured I was going to do well, and she was going to do well.

“The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level, and if I’m not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve, and I feel like you don’t really know what you have to improve on until you see that level.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Also Monday, No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia dispatched 36th-ranked American Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1, breaking all eight of Pera’s service games.

Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, has now reached the quarterfinals of all four majors.

Jabeur next faces 14th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, who won 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who played on a protected ranking of 68. Haddad Maia became the second Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open Era (since 1968) after Maria Bueno, who won seven majors from 1959-1966.

Pera, a 28 year-old born in Croatia, was the oldest U.S. singles player to make the fourth round of a major for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon. Her defeat left Gauff as the lone American singles player remaining out of the 35 entered in the main draws.

The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.

In the men’s draw, 2022 French Open runner-up Casper Ruud reached the quarterfinals by beating 35th-ranked Chilean Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5. He’ll next play sixth seed Holger Rune of Denmark, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7) winner over 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

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