Rafael Nadal into French Open final after Alexander Zverev suffers injury

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Rafael Nadal will play for a 14th, and possibly last, French Open title, but this is not how he wanted to advance to the final.

Nadal moved on after Alexander Zverev retired from their Friday semifinal match with a right ankle injury in the second set. In the final, he will play No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway, who took out No. 20 Marin Cilic of Croatia, live on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock Premium on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Zverev rolled the ankle on game point for Nadal to force a tiebreak after Nadal won a punishing first set 7-6 (8). The match was more than three hours old when Zverev screamed in pain and was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

Nadal, who has dealt off and on with a foot injury since 2005, also went off court. He was there while Zverev received medical attention. Nadal came back, and soon after the German re-entered the court on crutches to shake the chair umpire’s hand and hug Nadal.

“See him crying there is a very tough moment,” said Nadal, who has practiced with Zverev many times. “See a colleague on the tour like this, even if for me it’s a dream be in the final of Roland Garros, of course that way is not the way that we want it to be.”

Zverev posted a video on social media hours later.

“Looks like I have a very serious injury, but the medical team, the doctors are still checking on it, and we’ll keep you updated,” he said.

Nadal and Zverev went toe to toe in the first two, error-filled, serve-breaking sets.

“I was not able to push him back,” Nadal said of the 6-foot-6 Zverev. “He was able to hit a clean ball all the time, so [I] was surviving, a lot of surviving moments during that match.”

Nadal survived to play at least one more day in his legendary Roland Garros career. He has spoken this week of not knowing when his final match in Paris will be. On Friday, he said that he would trade the title on Sunday for a healthy foot long-term, though he said he is feeling physically OK at the moment.

“Even if all the sacrifices and all the things that I need to go through to try to keep playing, really makes sense when you enjoy moments like I’m enjoying in this tournament,” he said.

The foot pain had him considering retirement before this season. Then he won the Australian Open in January for his 21st major singles title, breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the men’s career record.

He had a less desirable lead-up to the French Open, failing to win a clay-court event this spring and saying last month regarding his foot, “What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know. What can happen in one week, I really don’t know now.”

Now, after beating Djokovic in a four-set quarterfinal and advancing past the injured Zverev on his 36th birthday, Nadal is the oldest French Open men’s singles finalist in 92 years. He can become the oldest men’s singles champion in tournament history.

“I played, I fighted,” he said Friday. “I did all the things possible to give myself at least a chance to be where I am.”

The final is on the 17th anniversary of his first French Open title.

“To be in the final of Roland Garros one more time,” Nadal said, “it’s a dream without a doubt.”

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

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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

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LA 2028
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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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