Carlin Isles, Perry Baker, Madison Hughes once again lead U.S. Olympic rugby team

2020 Sydney Sevens
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A veteran U.S. men’s rugby team was named Friday for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The 12-man roster is highlighted by six Olympians who were part of rugby sevens’ Olympic debut in 2016, including the man known as the fastest rugby player in the world: Carlin Isles.

He is joined by returnees Perry BakerDanny BarrettMadison HughesFolau Niua and Ben Pinkelman. Hughes will once again serve as captain.

Niua, 36, leads the team in experience with 69 World Rugby Sevens Series caps. He will also become the second-oldest Olympic rugby player compared to any teams prior to Tokyo; only France’s Victor Lardanchet was older in 1900, by a matter of months.

Barrett, Hughes and Isles also have more than 50 appearances apiece, with Baker at 47. Baker and Isles each have more than 200 tries in the Series.

Making their Olympic debut are Maceo BrownMartin IosefoMatai LeutaJoe SchroederStephen Tomasin and Kevon Williams. Brown, Iosefo, Schroeder and Tomasin represented the U.S. at either the 2015 or 2019 Pan American Games.

Schroeder has the fewest World Rugby Sevens Series appearances with 12.

Rugby union or 15s was on the Olympic program four times from 1900-1924, with the U.S. men twice winning gold. It then returned five years ago, this time with a different discipline in sevens.

In Rio, the U.S. men finished ninth and the women fifth. This year’s women’s team, which only includes two returning Olympians, was named last month.

The U.S. men are expected to outperform their 2016 placement, especially following an astounding 2018-19 season that saw the team claim seven medals in 10 World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments — tying the number of medals it had earned over the series’ previous 19 seasons and finishing second in the world that year.

In the 2019-20 campaign, however, the U.S. ranked seventh before the series was canceled after six of 10 stops due to the pandemic.

“This selection process has been incredibly competitive and that is a credit to the entire squad, especially off the back of what has been a hugely difficult year for the world,” coach Mike Friday, who also led the U.S. in Rio, said in a release. “We’ve worked hard as a group to adapt and overcome all the adversities we’ve faced both individually and collectively.”

The men’s tournament will be held July 26-28, with the U.S. facing South Africa, Kenya and Ireland in Pool C.

Brett Thompson was named alternate, with Naima Fualaau and Malacchi Esdale as traveling reserves.

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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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