More Alpine skiing World Cup Finals races canceled, overall title chases near end

Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals
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Slovakian Petra Vlhova and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault moved closer to their first overall titles after Alpine skiing World Cup Finals races were canceled for a second consecutive day on Thursday.

Adverse weather, notably fog, wiped out the women’s and men’s super-Gs in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, after all of the downhill training runs and downhill races were canceled due to snowfall and winds from Monday through Wednesday.

By rule, World Cup Finals races cannot be rescheduled. A mixed-gender team event is scheduled Friday.

MORE: World Cup Finals TV Schedule

That means that Vlhova takes a 96-point lead into the last two individual races, a Saturday slalom and Sunday giant slalom, over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami. On a descending scale of points, a race winner receives 100.

Vlhova, the 2019 World champion in the giant slalom and world No. 1 in the slalom, likely clinches the crown on Saturday given Gut-Behrami last raced a slalom in 2017. No Slovakian has won a World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

The 2016 overall champion Gut-Behrami’s best chances to make up ground on Vlhova were in the downhill and super-G. She’s ranked Nos. 3 and 1 in the world in those disciplines, respectively, but missed opportunities to rack up more points with Wednesday and Thursday cancellations.

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Similarly in the men’s title race, Pinturault benefited from not holding the speed races. The 29-year-old Frenchman, the most successful male World Cup skier yet to win an overall, leads 23-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt by 31 points.

While Odermatt and Pinturault rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world in giant slalom (scheduled for Saturday for the men), Odermatt hasn never raced a World Cup slalom. Pinturault ranks eighth in the world in slalom, making two podiums this season.

Odermatt is a stronger speed-events skier and particularly strong in super-G. He ranks second in the world in that event, but with Thursday’s cancellation, the season title went to Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr, who finished with an 83-point advantage.

Mikaela Shiffrin is due to race the slalom and GS this weekend. She won the slalom season title six of the last eight years, the outliers being when she missed races. This year, having started every slalom, she trails Vlhova by 37 points.

Even with a win, Shiffrin would need help to move from third place to first in the final standings. If Vlhova finishes first or second, she takes the crystal globe.

ON HER TURF: Alpine skiers explain: ‘What Mikaela Shiffrin taught me’

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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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