Barbora Krejcikova wins French Open, completing wild tournament

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Barbora Krejcikova, a 25-year-old Czech tagged a doubles specialist until a year ago, won the French Open, capping a topsy-turvy women’s tournament.

Krejcikova downed Russian veteran and fellow surprise finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 to become the seventh unseeded female Grand Slam singles champion.

Asked to share her emotions, Krejcikova paused for a moment, thanked the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd and, after a follow-up question, said, “I can’t believe what just happened.”

Krejcikova, a five-time Grand Slam winner in doubles and mixed, last year won her first Grand Slam main-draw singles match and broke into the top 100 in singles for the first time. She had zero wins over top-10 players until last month.

Krejcikova, formerly coached by the late 1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, a fellow Czech, won a low-level clay tournament in Strasbourg, France, the day before the French Open began.

“When Jana was passing away [in 2017] I was most of the time with her,” said Krejcikova, who received the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen from Czech-born legend Martina Navratilova. “Pretty much her last words were just enjoy, just try to win a Grand Slam. I know from somewhere she is looking after me.

“I just really miss her.”

In Paris, Krejcikova is 12-0 between singles and doubles. She’ll play for another title with partner Katerina Siniakova on Sunday.

“I really don’t know how you have that courage and power, playing doubles and singles,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

In singles, she navigated a draw that was otherwise defined by missing stars. The world’s top three players were all gone before the third round without losing: Ash Barty withdrew with a hip injury, Naomi Osaka withdrew citing mental health and Simona Halep withdrew before the tournament with a calf tear.

Given all that, Serena Williams, who lost in the fourth round, could start Wimbledon in two weeks as the favorite.

Krejcikova’s path was not bulldozed clear, however. She took out No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina, 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens and two dangerous players over the last year, seeds Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari (match point down), en route to the final.

Pavlyuchenkova, born five months before the break-up of the Soviet Union, was bidding to become the third-oldest first-time women’s Grand Slam champion in the Open Era.

She became the first woman to play more than 50 majors before reaching her first final. The former junior No. 1 lost all of her previous 12 Grand Slam quarterfinals between singles and doubles before this week. She owns 37 career wins over top-10 players, the most for any woman yet to break into the top 10.

“She’s already a great champion,” Krejcikova said.

Pavlyuchenkova suffered an upper left leg injury in the final, taking a medical timeout late in the second set and reportedly saying that she could not serve. She won five more games after that.

“In the last point I think I was dead,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I don’t have any more fuel.”

On Sunday, Novak Djokovic plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s final, live on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app at 9 a.m. ET.

Djokovic can become the first man to win all four majors twice in the Open Era. He can also win a 19th Grand Slam singles title, moving one shy of the record shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago. The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final