Sha’Carri Richardson gets biggest win in two years to open Diamond League


Sha’Carri Richardson earned her biggest win since the Tokyo Olympic Trials, and the most prestigious international race victory of her career at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on Friday.

Richardson won the 100m in 10.76 seconds, the world’s best time this year, beating a field that included the last two world 200m champions — Jamaican Shericka Jackson and Brit Dina Asher-Smith, who were second and third.

“I found my peace back on the track, and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that anymore,” she said, adding that she got “kicked out” of the 100m at her last meet in Botswana last Saturday, where she ran the 200m instead.

Richardson also prevailed over most of the rest of the top Americans, including 2022 U.S. champion Melissa Jefferson and TeeTee Terry, who anchored the U.S. to the 2022 World 4x100m relay title. She is the only U.S. woman to break 10.80 seconds since the start of 2017, and she has done it five times.

That bodes very well for Richardson’s chances at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three in the 100m are in line to qualify for August’s world championships in Budapest (plus more for the relay).

Richardson came into Doha in good form, having run a wind-aided 10.57 on April 8, the fourth-fastest all-conditions 100m in history. The 4.1 meter/second tailwind was twice above the legal limit.

“Y’all say I’m back,” Richardson said before Doha. “I’m not back. I’m better.”

She has yet to compete in a global championship.

In 2019, Richardson entered nationals ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 100m. She placed eighth after an exhausting NCAA season at LSU.

In 2021, she won the Olympic Trials but had that result disqualified after testing positive for marijuana, which is banned in competition but not out of competition.

Last year, she was eliminated in the 100m first round at nationals.

“I feel like I ain’t done, and I’m the queen,” Richardson said then.

Full Doha results are here. The next Diamond League meet is in Rabat, Morocco, on May 28.

In other events Friday, world 100m champ Fred Kerley surged past Olympic and world 200m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek to win the 200m in 19.92 seconds. Andre De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champ from Canada, was sixth. Michael Norman, the world 400m champ who is moving down to the 100m this season, was last in the eight-man field.

“I would have expected a little faster, but it was all good,” Kerley said. “The main [goal for the season] is finish undefeated and double gold in Budapest.”

Kerley is expected to focus on the 200m at July’s nationals, given he has a bye into the 100m at worlds as defending champ. Kerley was eliminated in the 200m semifinals at last summer’s worlds, saying he suffered a left leg cramp. Noah Lyles, who wasn’t in Doha, won the world 200m in an American record 19.31 seconds.

Olympic and world champion Katie Moon won the pole vault with a 4.81-meter clearance, best in the world this season. She defeated a field that included the entire top five from last year’s worlds.

Pedro Pichardo of Portugal won a men’s triple jump that included the three men who swept the medals at the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Worlds. Pichardo, the Olympic and world champion, recorded a 17.91-meter leap. American Christian Taylor, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion who missed Tokyo with a ruptured Achilles, was ninth.

Olympic champ Neeraj Chopra of India won the men’s javelin that included the top four from last summer’s worlds. Chopra threw 88.67 meters.

American JuVaughn Harrison cleared 2.32 meters to win the high jump over the top two men from last year’s worlds. An American man last won a world high jump medal in 2011.

Winfred Yavi of Bahrain won a deep women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:04.38.

World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya was fourth. World bronze medalist Mekides Abebe of Ethiopia was eighth. American Emma Coburn, the 2017 World champion, was 10th after falling early in the race after contact with another runner going over a barrier. Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganada was the last finisher in 11th. U.S. Olympian Val Constien pulled out after injuring her right leg landing a water jump.

The race lacked world champion Norah Jeruto of Kazakhstan, who last month was provisionally banned in a doping case involving her biological passport. It also didn’t have world silver medalist Werkuha Getachew of Ethiopia, who last raced in February.

In the men’s 400m hurdles, Rai Benjamin, the Olympic and world silver medalist, barely held off fellow American CJ Allen to win by 15 hundredths in 47.78. Benjamin said he did not practice in the last week because he had “pretty bad” COVID, a year after getting COVID at the Doha meet.

The race lacked Olympic champion Karsten Warholm of Norway, who usually opens his season later in the spring, and world champion Alison dos Santos of Brazil, who is out indefinitely with a meniscus injury in his right knee.

Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico took the 100m hurdles in 12.48 seconds, distancing U.S. silver medalist Alaysha Johnson (12.66) and 2019 World champion Nia Ali (12.69). Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who last year won the world title and broke the world record, was not in the field.

Ethiopian Lamecha Girma, the Olympic and world silver medalist in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, won the flat 3000m in 7:26.18.

The field for the 3000m, which is not an Olympic event, included Olympic and world steeple champ Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, 2019 World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya and Olympic 10,000m gold medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia.

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Iga Swiatek wins third French Open title, fourth Grand Slam, but this final was not easy


Iga Swiatek won her third French Open title and her fourth Grand Slam overall, pushed to a third set in a major final for the first time.

Swiatek, a 22-year-old Pole, outlasted unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday at Roland Garros. Muchova tested Swiatek, the only singles player in the Open Era to win their first seven major final sets. She became the first player to take a set off Swiatek in the tournament.

Swiatek looked en route to another major final sweep, up 3-0 in the second set. She then committed 11 unforced errors (versus four winners) over the rest of the set as Muchova rallied back (with 10 winners versus 11 unforced errors).

Muchova then won the first eight points of the third set. Swiatek, under the most pressure of her career on the sport’s biggest stages, passed the test. The players exchanged breaks of serve, and Muchova had another break point for a chance to serve for the championship, but Swiatek fended her off.

“After so many ups and downs, I kind of stopped thinking about the score,” Swiatek said. “I wanted to use my intuition more because I knew that I can play a little bit better if I’m going to get a little bit more loosened up.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

No woman lower than the 14th seed has beaten both world Nos. 1 and 2 at a Grand Slam since the WTA rankings began in 1975. Muchova, ranked 43rd, nearly pulled it off.

“The feeling is a little bitter because I felt it was very close,” she said. “But overall, I mean, to call myself Grand Slam finalist, it’s amazing achievement.”

The French Open finishes Sunday with the men’s final. Novak Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

Go back to the fall 2020 French Open. Swiatek, a 54th-ranked teen, won the tournament without dropping a set for her first tour-level title.

Since, she climbed to the top of the rankings (and has stayed there for 62 weeks running), tied the longest WTA win streak in 32 years (37 matches in a row in 2022) and won majors on clay and hard courts.

She beat challengers from different categories in major finals: a Slam champ (Sofia Kenin), a teen phenom (Coco Gauff), an emerged rival (Ons Jabeur) and now an unseeded (because of injuries)-but-dangerous veteran in Muchova. Swiatek is the youngest woman to reach four major titles since Serena Williams in 2002.

Yet this French Open began with talk of a Big Three in women’s tennis rather than singular dominance. Since last year’s French Open, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Russian-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina both won their first major and beat Swiatek multiple times.

Swiatek faced neither in Paris but still called it “a pretty stressful tournament,” noting a right thing injury that forced her to retire during her last match before the tournament.

Sabalenka was stunned by Muchova in Thursday’s semifinals, the erratic serving and nerves of her past reappearing. Rybakina had to withdraw earlier in the tournament due to illness.

Next up: the grass court season and Wimbledon, where Swiatek hasn’t made it past the fourth round in three tries. She did win the 2018 junior title at the All England Club. but Sabalenka and Rybakina have had more recent success there.

If Swiatek can lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, she will be an Australian Open shy of a career Grand Slam. Her chances of adding an Olympic gold medal to that collection are very high, given Roland Garros hosts tennis at the 2024 Paris Games.

“I’m not setting these crazy records or goals for myself,” she said. “I know that keeping it cool is the best way to do it for me.”

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Novak Djokovic into French Open final with records at stake after beating Carlos Alcaraz


Novak Djokovic heads into Sunday’s French Open final with all sorts of history at stake after eliminating a cramping Carlos Alcaraz in a showdown semifinal.

Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

On Friday, Djokovic took out the top seed Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, but the match was even when Alcaraz began showing signs of right leg cramping. The 20-year-old Spaniard attributed it to the “tension” of the match, saying he was nervous for his first time facing Djokovic at a major.

“I have never felt something like I did today,” he said, adding that it was full-body cramps. “If someone says that he get into the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies.”

Alcaraz stopped play at 1-all in the third set and had trouble walking. He forfeited the next game, stipulated by the rules for receiving medical treatment for severe muscle cramping when not at a change of ends or end of a set.

Djokovic then won the next nine games. Alcaraz played with limited mobility and without the charismatic magic that’s charmed the tennis world.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

“First and foremost, I have to say tough luck for Carlos. I feel for him. I feel sorry,” Djokovic said to begin an on-court interview. “I told him at the net he knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament, I’m sure, many, many times.”

Djokovic was told of Alcaraz’s reasoning for the cramps.

“I have experienced that several times,” he said. “Early in my career I was struggling quite a bit physically. I can understand the emotions and circumstances that affect you mentally and emotionally.”

The semi was billed as perhaps the greatest inter-generational match in men’s tennis history, the first time that Alcaraz played a member of the Big Three at a major.

Their 16-year age gap was the largest to take place for men this deep in a major since the 1991 U.S. Open (Jim Courier d. Jimmy Connors) and the largest age gap for any major match between Slam champs since 2006 Wimbledon (Rafael Nadal d. Andre Agassi).

Unlike Friday, most of the previous torch-passing meetings took place when one man was not yet at his peak or the other was past his prime.

Typically, the younger player wins these types of duels. Djokovic, by prevailing over a foe 16 years younger this late in a major, broke the Open Era men’s age gap record of 14-plus years set by Roger Federer, who beat Hyeon Chung at the 2018 Australian Open.

Now, Djokovic heads to Sunday’s final as an overwhelming favorite against the Norwegian Ruud, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 winner over German Alexander Zverev in the later semifinal. Ruud was runner-up to Nadal at last year’s French Open and runner-up to Alcaraz at last year’s U.S. Open.

Djokovic can become the first man to win all four majors at least three times. He can break Nadal’s record as the oldest French Open singles champion.

“I’ve been very fortunate that most of the matches in tournaments I’ve played in the last few years, there is history on the line,” he said. “The motivation is very high, as you can imagine.”

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