French Open: Dominic Thiem, Ons Jabeur lose on opening day

Dominic Thiem

The French Open began with notable defeats.

The 2020 U.S. Open men’s champion Dominic Thiem was eliminated in his 10th consecutive tour-level loss amid returning from a wrist injury. Women’s No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur, the favorite to reach the final from the bottom half, was ousted in three sets. And Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, continued her 2022 struggles.

American Jenson Brooksby, the 31st seed, was the first seeded man to lose, falling 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

Later, the highest seeds in action advanced in straight sets: No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 4 Maria Sakkari of Greece and No. 6 Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spanish phenom bidding to become the youngest men’s champion since Rafael Nadal won the first of his record 13 French Opens in 2005.

Nadal and favorites Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are scheduled to play first-round matches Monday.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up from Austria, fell 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to Hugo Dellien of Bolivia. Thiem has gone more than one year without a match win.

“Zero physical issues,” Thiem said. “In practice was really decent already the forehand, but then match situation is something different, Grand Slam especially, I’m obviously a little bit more tight, more nervous and obviously the whole body gets more tight, gets more nervous and right now that’s toxic to my forehand because I’m still missing the fine feeling there. I’m missing it a lot.

“Definitely thinking to go back to Challenger level now for maybe one or two tournaments. Of course a match win would help a lot, but if I’m honest to myself, in all the matches I played, still pretty far away from a win.”

Jabeur, the Tunisian who made the final of the last major clay-court lead-up event in Rome, lost 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 to Poland’s Magda Linette.

Jabeur, who made three finals in the clay-court season, was arguably the biggest threat to overwhelming tournament favorite Iga Swiatek, who is on a 28-match win streak.

“Obviously I’m a little bit disappointed because I was expecting myself to go far in this tournament, especially with the clay season starting very well for me,” Jabeur said.

With her defeat, the new favorite to make the final from the bottom half is Sakkari followed by American Coco Gauff, another Sunday winner.

Muguruza, the 10th seed, would have been one of the favorites in the bottom half based on her form late last year, when she won the WTA Finals. But she has a losing record overall this year, and went out 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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