Naomi Osaka exits French Open in first round, may skip Wimbledon

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Naomi Osaka lost in the French Open first round, then said she may skip Wimbledon after the WTA and ATP tours announced last week they will not award ranking points because Wimbledon is barring Russia and Belarus players.

“I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances, but, you know, that might change,” Osaka said in an English answer to a question in Japanese that media on site reported to be about Wimbledon. “I’m not sure why, but I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. Whenever I think like something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100%.”

Osaka, a four-time major champion on hard courts, made the comments after losing 7-5, 6-4 to 27th-seeded American Amanda Anisimova in the marquee first-round match at Roland Garros.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Also Monday, the women’s bottom half of the draw was blown open. Upset: No. 2 seed and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic (in her first match since February due to an elbow injury) and No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. With No. 6 Ons Jabeur and No. 10 Garbine Muguruza ousted Sunday, one top-10 player is left in that half: No. 4 Maria Sakkari of Greece.

In the top half, No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland throttled Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-0 in 54 minutes for a 29th consecutive match win, the longest women’s streak in nine years.

Rafael Nadal began his bid for a record-extending 14th French Open title by sweeping Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal next gets French wild card Corentin Moutet, who dispatched 2015 Roland Garros winner Stan Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3. Novak Djokovic rolled Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.

Osaka, unseeded after taking two breaks last year, struggled with her serve — eight double faults, first-serve percentage of 45 — and had 29 unforced errors to 13 winners.

On Wimbledon, Osaka said she expects more “back and forth” regarding the ranking points situation before she makes her final decision. The tournament starts June 27.

She also said she’s “a bit scared” about playing on grass after previously suffering an injury on the surface.

Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open before her second-round match. Back then, she announced that she suffered “long bouts of depression,” one day after tennis’ Grand Slams threatened disqualification or suspension if she continued to skip press conferences, as she had announced before the event, citing mental health.

“For the most part I think I’m OK,” Osaka said last week after deciding to do a pre-tournament press conference. “When I first came here, I was very worried. … I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them. But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part.”

She entered Roland Garros with a lack of match prep on clay, including withdrawing from her last tournament with an Achilles injury.

“I tried really hard, and I just feel like it was a bit unfortunate because I wasn’t able to play as many matches leading into this tournament,” Osaka, who took a painkiller before the match and felt her Achilles in the second set, said Monday. “So there were probably some really bad decisions that I made on certain points, but I think overall I wasn’t too bad.”

The two-time U.S. Open and two-time Australian Open champion’s best result at the French was making the third round in 2016, 2018 and 2019. She has never beaten a player on clay ranked as high as Anisimova.

Anisimova, who broke through in 2019 to make the French Open semifinals at age 17, is at her best ranking since September 2020.

“It’s good going into this tournament knowing that I was so close back then and just having a very good run, so I know it’s in me,” Anisimova said.

She gets former top-20 player Donna Vekic of Croatia in the second round with Sakkari potentially waiting in the third.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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