Mikaela Shiffrin moves closer to Lindsey Vonn record with 79th World Cup win


Mikaela Shiffrin is up to 79 World Cup wins, three shy of Lindsey Vonn‘s female record, after giant slalom victories on consecutive days in Semmering, Austria.

Shiffrin prevailed by one tenth of a second over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, one day after edging Slovakian Petra Vlhova by 13 hundredths.

“Everybody counts the numbers,” Shiffrin said. “What does it mean to have 79 victories? I can’t answer that question because it’s been 12 or 13 years of racing and good races and bad races and highs and lows, and the last three years have been really difficult. So, it means a lot. Today, I just say it’s not 79, but it’s just one, and I’m really happy with it.”

Shiffrin trailed Gut-Behrami by 22 hundredths after Wednesday’s first run and rallied despite a brief loss of balance that cost her time late in her second run.

“Today I was a bit more nervous than yesterday because of yesterday. … After yesterday I felt like maybe I’m supposed to win, and any time I feel like that, I don’t win,” she said. “It was hard, so dark and some really big bumps.”

Gut-Behrami, last to go in the second run, lost all of her lead in the first split.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin, 27, has the third-most World Cup victories in history after Swede Ingemar Stenmark (86 wins) and Vonn (82). She tries for her 80th in a night slalom in Semmering on Thursday, live on Peacock.

“There’s a few women who can ski it faster than I can,” she said of the slalom. Shiffrin, the greatest slalom skier in history, is tied for first in this season’s slalom standings with Swiss Wendy Holdener.

She earned a 16th career World Cup giant slalom win Wednesday, tying for second in women’s history with Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll and Frenchwoman Tessa WorleyVreni Schneider, a Swiss star of the 1980s and ’90s, has the record of 20. Shiffrin already has the most World Cup slalom wins for a man or woman with 49.

Shiffrin won six of the last eight World Cup races held in Semmering dating to 2016.

This three-race Semmering stop begins a stretch of eight slaloms or giant slaloms — Shiffrin’s best events — over a 15-day stretch through Jan. 10, all at venues where Shiffrin won before.

Shiffrin has five wins in 11 starts this season and leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by 305 points through 14 of 39 scheduled races.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

1 Comment

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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw

Jessica Pegula upset in French Open third round

Jessica Pegula French Open

Jessica Pegula, the highest-ranked American man or woman, was upset in the third round of the French Open.

Elise Mertens, the 28th seed from Belgium, bounced the third seed Pegula 6-1, 6-3 to reach the round of 16. Pegula, a 29-year-old at a career-high ranking, had lost in the quarterfinals of four of the previous five majors.

Down 4-3 in the second set, Pegula squandered three break points in a 14-minute game. Mertens then broke Pegula to close it out.

“I feel like I was still playing good points. Elise was just being really tough, not making a lot of errors and making me play every single ball. And with the windy conditions, I felt like it definitely played into her game,” Pegula said.

Pegula’s exit leaves No. 6 seed Coco Gauff, last year’s runner-up, as the last seeded hope to become the first U.S. woman to win a major title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major span without an American champ is the longest for U.S. women since Monica Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

Mertens, who lost in the third or fourth round of the last six French Opens, gets 96th-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 2021 French Open runner-up, for a spot in the quarterfinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Also Friday, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus won a third consecutive match in straight sets, then took questions from a selected group of reporters rather than conducting an open press conference. She cited mental health, two days after a tense back and forth with a journalist asking questions about the war, which she declined to answer.

“For many months now I have answered these questions at tournaments and been very clear in my feelings and my thoughts,” she said Friday. “These questions do not bother me after my matches. I know that I have to provide answers to the media on things not related to my tennis or my matches, but on Wednesday I did not feel safe in press conference.”

Sabalenka next plays American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion now ranked 30th, who reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Kazakh Yulia Putintseva.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the former world No. 3, is into the fourth round of her first major since October childbirth. She’ll play ninth-seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina.

Novak Djokovic continued his bid for a men’s record-breaking 23rd major title by dispatching No. 29 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-2. Djokovic’s fourth-round opponent will be No. 13 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland or 94th-ranked Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.

Later Friday, top seed Carlos Alcaraz faces 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!