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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Jim Hines, Olympic 100m gold medalist and first to break 10 seconds, dies

Jim Hines
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Jim Hines, a 1968 Olympic 100m gold medalist and the first person to break 10 seconds in the event, has died at age 76, according to USA Track and Field.

“I understand that God called him home today and we send the prayers up for him,” was posted on the Facebook page of John Carlos, a 1968 U.S. Olympic teammate, over the weekend.

Hines was born in Arkansas, raised in Oakland, California and attended Texas Southern University in Houston.

At the June 1968 AAU Championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first person to break 10 seconds in the 100m with a hand-timed 9.9. It was dubbed the “Night of Speed” because the world record of 10 seconds was beaten by three men and tied by seven others, according to World Athletics.

“There will never be another night like it,” Hines said at a 35th anniversary reunion in 2003, according to World Athletics. “That was the greatest sprinting series in the history of track and field.”

Later that summer, Hines won the Olympic Trials. Then he won the Olympic gold medal in Mexico City’s beneficial thin air in 9.95 seconds, the first electronically timed sub-10 and a world record that stood for 15 years.

Hines was part of a legendary 1968 U.S. Olympic track and field team that also included 200m gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and Carlos, plus gold medalists Wyomia Tyus (100m), Bob Beamon (long jump), Al Oerter (discus), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Lee Evans (400m), Madeline Manning Mims (800m), Willie Davenport (110m hurdles), Bob Seagren (pole vault), Randy Matson (shot put), Bill Toomey (decathlon) and the men’s and women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m relays.

After the Olympics, Hines joined the Miami Dolphins, who chose him in the sixth round of that year’s NFL Draft to be a wide receiver. He was given the number 99. Hines played in 10 games between 1969 and 1970 for the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

He remains the only person to have played in an NFL regular season game out of the now more than 170 who have broken 10 seconds in the 100m over the last 55 years.

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 top 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