Mikaela Shiffrin gets second as Petra Vlhova slips; World Cup slalom title down to final race


Mikaela Shiffrin finished second on her 26th birthday in the season’s penultimate slalom that complicated the title picture going into next week’s World Cup Finals.

Shiffrin, bidding for her 70th World Cup win, had the fastest first run but was denied victory by world champion Katharina Liensberger, who became the first Austrian woman to win a World Cup since Feb. 29, 2020.

Liensberger prevailed by .72 of a second, making up a deficit of .19 from the first run, to end a six-and-a-half-year drought between World Cup slalom victories for Austrian women. It also ensured Austrian women don’t go winless in a season (across all disciplines) for the first time in World Cup history (since 1967).

“I was pushing, and I think Liensberger was on another level,” Shiffrin said.

Another significant result in Are, Sweden: Slovakian Petra Vlhova, who could have clinched the World Cup slalom season title on Saturday, finished eighth, her worst placement since 2019, after nearly skiing out in the first run.

She needed an acrobatic save between the fifth and sixth gates to stay on course and ended up 27th in the first run, 2.95 seconds behind Shiffrin.

Vlhova had the fastest second run to move up 19 spots.

“A lot of risk because I was thinking, OK, nothing to lose,” Vlhova said on ORF.

Paula Moltzan was fifth, the best World Cup slalom result for an American woman other than Shiffrin since 2012.

Full results are here.

Vlhova’s slalom standings lead was cut from 85 points over Shiffrin to 22 points over Liensberger. Shiffrin is now 37 points behind going into the last slalom at the World Cup Finals next Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

A race winner gets 100 points, second place gets 80 and third place gets 60 on a scale that descends further down the standings. Vlhova will win the crystal globe if she finishes first or second in the last race. If Shiffrin wins the race, she needs somebody other than Vlhova to finish second.

“The only thing you can really expect is it should be an exciting show,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

“Anything is possible in Finals. I’m not totally out of the fight, which, after yesterday, is a little bit of a surprise.”

She owns six World Cup slalom season titles and has never lost it when doing a full season of racing since her breakout at age 17 in 2012-13.

“On paper, this is, I don’t know, my least successful season, but it’s still been quite incredible,” said Shiffrin, who has three wins and eight podiums, plus four world championships medals this winter after going 300 days between racing following her father’s death and an autumn back injury. “I can be happy with that but also not totally satisfied.

Vlhova increased her lead in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, to 126 points over Swiss speed skier Lara Gut-Behrami, who doesn’t race slaloms. That will also be decided at next week’s World Cup Finals, which are made up of one downhill, one super-G, one giant slalom and one slalom.

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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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