Novak Djokovic wins French Open; Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Slams record in sight


Novak Djokovic climbed Everest and won the French Open, beginning what could be a (late spring and) summer where he cements his place as the greatest male tennis player in history.

Djokovic rallied past Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in the first five-set French Open final since the pre-Rafael Nadal era in 2004. That marathon effort came two days after Djokovic conquered 13-time Roland Garros champion Nadal in the semifinals.

Both matches were 4 hours, 11 minutes.

“Probably the best 40 hours I’ve ever had,” Djokovic said on Peacock.

Djokovic, 34, earned his 19th Grand Slam singles title, moving one shy of the male record shared by Roger Federer and Nadal. He became the first man in the Open Era (since 1968) to win all four majors twice.

Djokovic’s victory also marked the sixth comeback by anyone from two sets down in an Open Era Grand Slam final, five of them coming in Paris. He denied Tsitsipas, a 22-year-old bidding to become the first man of the ATP-branded “Next Gen” era to win a Slam.

“What I learned today is that no matter what, in order for the match to be finished, you have to win three sets and not two,” Tsitsipas said. “Two sets doesn’t really mean anything. It’s still one away of winning the entire match.”

Djokovic also survived being two sets down in the fourth round against 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

“I like to play young guys in best-of-five, because I feel even if they are leading a set or two sets to love as it was the case today, I still like my chances,” Djokovic said after Musetti retired down 4-0 in the fifth. “I’m physically fit, and I know how to wear my opponent down. … I’ve won most of the five-setters I have played in this tournament and in my career, so I think that experience helps.”

Now Djokovic heads to Wimbledon in two weeks with a chance to tie Federer and Nadal. After that, he can complete the career Golden Slam at the Tokyo Olympics. Then in September, he could break the men’s Slams record and become the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam.

Djokovic said he is “in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” but reminded that he won the first two Slams of the last Olympic year in 2016, then lost in the third round of Wimbledon. He didn’t win the Rio Olympics or the U.S. Open, either.

“Obviously his goal and our goal is to win the Olympics and then win the Grand Slam,” said Marian Vajda, Djokovic’s coach. “That would be the absolutely top of this year. But it’s still far away from us.”

Maybe that’s looking too far ahead, but he passed the toughest test of them all in Paris. Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal at the French Open and win the tournament.

“Rafa, he has a special game for the clay. He doesn’t need to work that hard for the clay because he has everything, the shots, the selection of shots, technically he’s just perfect to stay on the clay for longer,” Vajda said. But Novak have to find his game throughout the clay court season

Djokovic ranked this feat in the top four of his career — also his first Wimbledon title in 2011 (that included becoming world No. 1), his 2012 Australian Open final epic with Nadal (5 hours, 53 minutes) and his 2019 Wimbledon final epic with Federer (saved two championship points).

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Shoma Uno leads Ilia Malinin at figure skating worlds; Japan wins first pairs’ title


Defending champion Shoma Uno of Japan bettered American Ilia Malinin in the world figure skating championships short program.

Malinin, 18, plans one of, if not the most difficult free skate in history on Saturday in a bid to overtake Uno to become the youngest world champion in 25 years.

Uno, who has reportedly dealt with an ankle injury, skated clean Thursday save doubling the back end of a planned quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination. He totaled 104.63 points, overtaking Malinin by 4.25 on home ice in Saitama.

“I was able to do better jumps compared to my practice in my short program today, and even if I am not in my best condition, I want to focus on other details other than my jumps as well,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union.

Malinin, who this season landed the first quadruple Axel in competition, had a clean short after struggling with the program all autumn. He landed a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combo, a quad toe and a triple Axel. Uno beat him on artistic component scores.

“I was really in the moment,” said Malinin, who plans a record-tying six quads in Saturday’s free skate after attempting five at previous competitions this season. “I was really feeling my performance out there.”

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

The quad Axel is not allowed in the short program, but expect Malinin to include it in the free, and he likely needs it to beat Uno.

Malinin has been a force in skating, starting with his breakout silver-medal finish at the January 2022 U.S. Championships. He was left off last year’s Olympic team due to his inexperience, then won the world junior title last spring.

He entered these senior worlds ranked second in the field behind Uno, yet outside the top 15 in the world in the short program this season. After a comfortable win at January’s national championships, he can become the youngest men’s world champion since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 1998.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Jason Brown placed sixth with a clean short in his first full international competition since last year’s Olympics.

The third American, Andrew Torgashev, fell on his opening quad toe loop and ended up 22nd in his worlds debut.

Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen has not skated this season, going back to Yale, and is not expected to return to competition. Silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan has been out with left leg and ankle bone injuries. Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu retired.

Earlier Thursday, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won Japan’s first pairs’ world title, dethroning Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who last year became the first Americans to win a pairs’ world title since 1979.

More on the pairs’ event here.

Worlds continue Thursday night (U.S. time) with the rhythm dance, followed Friday morning with the women’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results


2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women (Short Program)
1. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 79.24
2. Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 73.62
3. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 73.46
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 73.03
5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 71.94
6. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 68.00
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 67.29
8. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 66.45
9. Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) — 65.69
10. Amber Glenn (USA) — 65.52


Men (Short Program)
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 104.63
2. Ilia Malinin (USA) — 100.38
3. Cha Jun-Hwan (KOR) — 99.64
4. Keegan Messing (CAN) — 98.75
5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 95.56
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 94.17
7. Kazuki Tomono (JPN) — 92.68
8. Daniel Grassl (ITA) — 86.50
9. Lukas Britschgi (SUI) — 86.18
10. Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) — 82.71
17. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) — 75.48
22. Andrew Torgashev (USA) — 71.41

Gold: Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 222.16
Silver: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 217.48
Bronze: Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 208.08
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 199.97
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 194.73
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 193.00
7. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 190.67
8. Anastasia Golubova/Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) — 189.47
9. Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER) — 184.60
10. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 184.46
12. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 175.59

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