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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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028

Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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