A Boston Marathon women’s field for the ages on historic anniversary

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For the first time in many years, the Boston Marathon features the world’s top two female marathoners from the previous year. Perhaps the best Boston Marathon women’s field ever comes on the 50th anniversary of the first time women were officially allowed to race the world’s most historic 26.2-mile race.

Kenyans Peres Jepchirchir and Joyciline Jepkosgei headline the entries. Also running is arguably the top American today, Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel.

“I’ve gotten my ass kicked by Peres the two times that I’ve raced her,” Seidel told LetsRun.com on Friday. “Getting to be in a race with a huge amount of competition like that with women with incredible credentials, that fires me up like nothing else. A lot of it is, you just hang on for dear life and see what happens.”

London usually has the best fields of the spring marathons, but that race is being held in October for a third consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Boston, which was canceled in 2020 and held in October last year, returns to its usual Patriots’ Day date for the first time since 2019.

BOSTON MARATHON: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | U.S. Women’s Moment

It is this year’s spotlight spring marathon.

The race is an opportunity for Jepchirchir, who won the Olympics and the New York City Marathon last year, to consolidate her status as the world No. 1. Jepkosgei is right behind, winning London in the world’s fastest time of 2021 in her lone marathon of the year.

Another Kenyan, world-record holder Brigid Kosgei, is perhaps the only other woman in that very top tier. But she hasn’t raced Boston since becoming a star. Yet another Kenyan Mary Keitany, the retired queen of the 2010s, never raced Boston as she favored London.

So this year’s field is about as special as it gets for the world’s most historic marathon.

Another reason why is Seidel, who has an opportunity to shake up the marathon world.

She already mixed it up at majors, placing sixth in London in 2020, then third at the Olympics (within 30 seconds of Jepchirchir and Kosgei) and fourth in New York City last year (in the fastest time ever for an American woman on that course).

“It was a surprise for a lot of people that I won that medal,” said Seidel, who formerly supplemented her training as a barista and babysitter and is now working on an MBA and pilot’s license. “But honestly, that’s been something that’s always been a big goal of mine. My goals are pretty much the same [now], a podium spot at major marathons.”

Seidel’s performance will go a long way in determining the top U.S. marathoner of the moment.

Keira D’Amato broke the American record in Houston in January. Sara Hall made a major marathon podium each of the last two years.

But Seidel is the only one of the very best Americans racing Boston after Hall withdrew due to injury.

The story Monday could also be the return of Ethiopia. Its fastest woman of 2021, London runner-up Degitu Azimeraw, is also entered. Ethiopia, the longtime rival of Kenya for marathon supremacy, has one women’s title in the last six years among Boston, London, New York City, the world championships and Olympics.

Monday also marks the ninth Boston Marathon for Des Linden, the lone active woman left from the previous generation of top Americans.

In 2018, she ended a 33-year victory drought for U.S. female runners in Boston. At 38, she does not know how much longer she will do elite marathon racing.

“I’m watching the youngsters take over and push the sport forward, and sort of hanging on and, hopefully, having a moment here and there where I can compete with them,” Linden said.

ON HER TURF: A look at the 50th anniversary of official women’s division

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Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz set French Open semifinal showdown


Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in the French Open semifinals on Friday in the most anticipated match of the tournament.

Each man advanced with a quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

Djokovic, eyeing a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title, rallied past 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4. The Serb reached his 45th career major semifinal, one shy of Roger Federer‘s men’s record.

Later Tuesday, top seed Alcaraz crushed fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to consolidate his status as the favorite in Friday’s showdown.

“This match, everyone wants to watch,” Alcaraz said. “I really wanted to play this match as well. I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Alcaraz, who at last year’s U.S. Open became the first male teen to win a major since Rafael Nadal in 2005, is at this event the youngest man to be the top seed at a major since Boris Becker at 1987 Wimbledon.

The Djokovic-Alcaraz semifinal will produce the clear favorite for Sunday’s final given left-handed 14-time French Open champion Nadal is out this year with a hip injury and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev lost in the first round. Djokovic and Nadal share the record 22 men’s major titles.

Djokovic and Alcaraz met once, with Alcaraz winning last year on clay in Madrid 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

“[Alcaraz] brings a lot of intensity on the court,” Djokovic said, before breaking into a smile. “Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic were set to be on opposite halves of the draw — and thus not able to meet until the final — until Medvedev won the last top-level clay event before the French Open to move ahead of Djokovic in the rankings. That meant Djokovic had a 50 percent chance to wind up in Alcaraz’s half, and that’s what the random draw spit out two weeks ago.

Earlier Tuesday in the first two women’s quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova advanced to face off in Thursday’s semifinals.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, swept Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 to complete her set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. Sabalenka will take the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek if Swiatek loses before the final, or if Sabalenka makes the final and Swiatek does not win the title.

Svitolina, a former world No. 3, returned to competition in April from childbirth.

Muchova took out 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-2, to make her second major semifinal after the 2021 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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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 meet in Friday’s 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