Chloe Kim repeats as snowboard halfpipe world champion, leads U.S. 1-2


Chloe Kim added another major snowboard halfpipe title to her trophy case, repeating as world champion on Saturday.

Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at age 17, prevailed with a 93.75-point run that included a 1080 and a 900 in Aspen, Colorado.

“I actually kind of sprained my ankle in practice so it’s been a little challenging,” she said.

Kim, who landed back-to-back 1080s in PyeongChang, had the two highest-scoring runs in the eight-woman final, then had a victory lap for her last run.

Countrywoman Maddie Mastro, the last woman to beat Kim in competition at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open, took silver with an 89-point third and final run that included her trademark double crippler.

It’s the second time the U.S. went one-two in a world championships halfpipe, after Ross Powers and Lael Gregory did so in the event’s debut in 1996, two years before snowboarding’s Olympic debut.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet, who won the 2020 X Games in Kim’s absence, earned bronze.

The other major Olympic medal contenders — 2018 Olympic silver medalist Liu Jiayu and two-time world champion Cai Xuetong, both of China — have not competed in any International Ski Federation-sanctioned events this season.

Kim won her two biggest contests this winter, also taking her fifth X Games Aspen title in January in the same Buttermilk Mountain halfpipe.

She returned to competition after a 22-month break, having taken the entire 2019-20 season off to attend Princeton freshman classes.

Also Saturday, Japanese Totsuka Yuto, 19, won the men’s halfpipe, confirming his status as 2022 Olympic favorite as Shaun White hasn’t competed in three years. Totsuka had the two highest scores, 96.25 and 93, beating Australian star Scotty James for a fourth consecutive head-to-head.

Totsuka, whose top run included a 1440 and three 1260s, also relegated James to silver at X Games.

White could make his contest return at a U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen next week, the first 2022 U.S. Olympic qualifier.

Chinese Eileen Gu became the first skier to win halfpipe and slopestyle medals at the same world championships — and both were gold. Gu, a 17-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, took halfpipe on Friday and slopestyle on Saturday in her worlds debut.

She also swept ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle in her X Games debut in January. She’s now the favorite in both events at the Olympics in her home nation next year. No freestyle skier has earned multiple medals at a single Olympics.

Swiss Andri Ragettli, he of the sensational social media videos and 515,000 Instagram followers, won his first world title in men’s ski slopestyle. Ragettli scored 90.65 points on his last run, pushing Americans Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall to silver and bronze.

It’s the biggest slopestyle title in 22-year-old Ragettli’s career. He also won big air at X Games in January. Ski big air makes its Olympic debut next year.

Worlds continue next week with big air events in skiing and snowboarding.

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Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

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

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw