Shoma Uno, Mai Mihara win Grand Prix Final; Ilia Malinin, Isabeau Levito rally for medals

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Shoma Uno easily won his first duel with Ilia Malinin this season at figure skating’s Grand Prix Final, but the 18-year-old American landed another quadruple Axel in Saturday’s free skate to build anticipation for March’s world championships.

Japan’s Uno, the world champion, totaled 304.46 points with the top short program and free skate to prevail by a whopping 30.11 points over countryman Sota Yamamoto. Malinin rallied for bronze from fifth place after the short with five quadruple jumps in the free (one negatively graded).

The U.S. earned a medal in all four events at a Final for the first time (thanks to its first-ever pairs’ medal on Friday, and perhaps in part the absence of Russian skaters, all banned for the war in Ukraine).

Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old world junior champion, improved from fifth after the short to earn silver behind Japan’s Mai Mihara in the women’s event. Levito, even with a fall in the free skate, became the third-youngest U.S. woman to win a Grand Prix Final medal after Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan.

“I’m very shocked,” said Levito, who goes into January’s U.S. Championships as the clear favorite after the retirements of Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu. “When I messed up in my program, I didn’t expect to be in the place that I am now.”

GRAND PRIX FINAL: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Uno had such an advantage over Malinin from the short — 19.89 points — that the American, who entered the competition with the world’s best score this season, could not pass him if Uno skated relatively clean in the free.

Uno did just that with five quads (one negatively graded) to win the Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual competition, for the first time after two previous silvers and two bronzes.

“Everything I trained for was able to be crystallized in the competition here today,” Uno said through a translator. “But at the same time, I did sense that there’s a lot of room for growth.”

Malinin, fifth of six skaters in Friday’s short due to errors on all three jumping passes, rebounded with a strong free skate like he did in his three previous events this season (three wins to rank No. 1 in the world going into the Final). Malinin is the only skater to ever land a quad Axel and has now done it in each of his free skates this season.

Malinin has been affected by a left foot injury since at least late November. He said Saturday that it started really bothering him two weeks ago, but he “barely even felt it” at the Final. Because of it, he did not attempt a Lutz jump at either of his last two events, yet still finished first and third in them.

“A good sign that it’s healing,” said Malinin, who hopes to put the Lutz back in later this season. “It showed today that with all the prep that I’m doing, all the physical therapy.

“I was sort of in shock I was able to pull this off with all the preparation that I didn’t have.”

Malinin, the world junior champion who turned 18 last week, became the second-youngest U.S. man to win a Grand Prix Final medal after Nathan Chen.

Uno and Malinin ascended to the top of the sport following two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu‘s retirement and reigning Olympic champion Chen’s indefinite, possibly permanent leave from the sport.

Next, Uno and Malinin head to their respective national championships to lock up spots at March’s worlds in Japan.

Also Saturday, Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier consolidated their world No. 1 status by winning the Grand Prix Final ice dance. Gilles and Poirier, seventh at the Olympics, totaled 215.64 points to beat Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates by 3.7 points.

Chock and Bates, the top returning ice dance couple from last season with all three Olympic medalists not competing internationally this fall, were bidding for the biggest international title of their careers. The U.S. earned a Grand Prix Final dance medal for a 14th consecutive time.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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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 could meet in the 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).

No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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