AP sports photos of the year capture unforgettable snippets in time from the games we love
They are snippets in time, unforgettable snapshots that gloriously capture the soaring euphoria and gut-wrenching agony of the games we love, not to mention the randomness of a moment that might’ve gone unnoticed otherwise.
Serena's gone, Open must go on: Kvitova, Pegula set rematch
Much like for so many other folks, Serena Williams’ last match at the U.S. Open was must-see TV for players still in the tournament, so Jessica Pegula and Petra Kvitova tuned in from their hotel rooms the night before their victories led off Saturday’s schedule and set up a fourth-round showdown.
Djokovic holds off Tiafoe; Venus hobbles out in Australia
Serbia's Novak Djokovic makes a forehand return to United States' Frances Tiafoe during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. 1, had never beaten anyone in the Top 5, and now he'd just won a tiebreaker against Novak Djokovic to level their second-round match at the Australian Open. So did another U.S. Open champion, Naomi Osaka, who needed only an hour to sweep Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-3. AdFormer U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu, coming back from 15 months out with injury, became the latest top-10 player to be beaten by Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan. 11 Denis Shapovalov beat Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, advancing along with two other Canadians, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Latest: Shapovalov edges teenage Sinner in 1st round
The 10th-seeded Frenchman is a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, but he can't seem to win anywhere at the moment. ___4:55 p.m.U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem has moved into the second round at the Australian Open, where he was the runner-up to Novak Djokovic a year ago. Thiem had been 0-3 in Grand Slam finals until emerging for the championship at Flushing Meadows in September. The first tournament of this year’s Grand Slam season began after a three-week delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. Serena Williams begins her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam singles title in the following match against Laura Siegemund.
Kenin, 21, will face unseeded Swiatek, 19, in French final
4-seeded Kenin moved into the French Open final by beating No. Kenin will carry a 16-1 mark in Grand Slam action this season into Saturday’s championship match against Iga Swiatek of Poland. Swiatek vs. Podoroska was the first women’s semifinal at Roland Garros between unseeded opponents since 1983 — and only one, Swiatek, truly seemed ready for the stage. Swiatek does it with tremendous play at the baseline, picking up balls early and smacking big groundstrokes with thick topspin. I’m, like, not letting my opponents play their best tennis,” Swiatek said.
The Latest: Polish teen Swiatek reaches French Open final
Poland's Iga Swiatek plays a shot against Argentina's Nadia Podoroska in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS – The Latest from the French Open (all times local):___4:20 p.m.Polish teenager Iga Swiatek has become the seventh unseeded player to reach the French Open final in the Open era after beating Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-2, 6-1. Swiatek will next face either two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin in Saturday's final. ___3:45 p.m.Polish qualifier Iga Swiatek has won the first set against Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-2 in the first semifinal of the day on Court Philippe Chatrier. ___12:25 p.m.Polish teenager Iga Swiatek and Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska will open play in the main stadium at the French Open.
Djokovic's body acts up at French Open; faces Tsitsipas next
Carreño Busta, for his part, had at least a bit of doubt about what was going on. Nadal eyes a 13th championship at the French Open, which would give him 20 majors overall, equaling Roger Federer's record for men; Schwartzman never has played in a Slam semifinal. At the U.S. Open, Tsitsipas failed to convert a half-dozen match points in a third-round loss. Then, against Rublev in the final of the clay-court Hamburg Open on Sept. 27 — Day 1 of the French Open — Tsitsipas served for the victory but wound up absorbing another disheartening defeat. At the changeover before the second set, Djokovic was attended to by a trainer, who returned for another massage three games later.
The Latest: Djokovic has arm issue but wins at French Open
(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)PARIS – The Latest from the French Open (all times local):___9:50 p.m.Novak Djokovic has overcome a bothersome left arm and early deficit to reach the French Open semifinals for the 10th time. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in one of Friday’s semifinals as he seeks a second French Open championship and 18th Grand Slam title. ___5:15 p.m.Polish teenager Iga Swiatek has reached the French Open semifinals in both singles and doubles. ___4:50 p.m.Laura Siegemund has taken issue with the chair umpire for giving her a time violation during her 6-3, 6-3 loss to Petra Kvitova in the French Open quarterfinals. Rublev won their final at the clay-court Hamburg Open on the same day main-draw competition began at the French Open.
Kvitova gets emotional after return to French Open quarters
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic celebrates winning her fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against China's Zhang Shuai in two sets 6-2, 6-4, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS – Petra Kvitova owns two Wimbledon titles, so making it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the 13th time should not necessarily feel like a big deal to her. Which is why Kvitova’s emotions swelled and her eyes watered after she beat Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4 on Monday at the French Open, where she hadn’t reached the round of eight since 2012. Everything came to my mind -- my whole family, people who I loved, (who helped) me through the tough, tough time,” Kvitova said. I just wanted to get some carbs, some potato or rice, whatever.”MAINSTREAM MEDIAFrench Open quarterfinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas plugged into his YouTube channel during his run to the Australian Open semifinals in 2019.
Coach? Motivator? Kenin's dad moves, Paris match changes
“First of all, I mean, I don’t know, like, why HER coach sat in that section,” said Kenin, who is seeded No. Djokovic is seeking a second French Open championship and 18th major trophy overall. Tsitsipas and Rublev both dropped the first two sets they played in Paris last week — and now both are making a French Open quarterfinal debut. Their meeting Wednesday comes 10 days after Rublev beat Tsitsipas in three sets in the final of the Hamburg Open on Sept. 27 — Day 1 of the French Open. “I know he’s a tough cookie.”___AP Tennis Writer Fendrich reported from Washington; AP Sports Writer Pugmire reported from Paris.
The Latest: Djokovic in 11th French Open quarterfinal in row
(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)PARIS – The Latest from the French Open (all times local):___6:20 p.m.Novak Djokovic reached the French Open quarterfinals for the 11th consecutive year, extending his own Open-era record at the tournament. Djokovic has won all 12 sets he’s played in Paris this year and dropped a total of only 25 games so far. Djokovic is seeking a second French Open championship and 18th major trophy overall. ___12:55 p.m.Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova reached the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in eight years by beating Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4. There will still be crowds for the final week of French Open after Paris police decided not to reduce the limit of 1,000 spectators per day.
If at 1st, or 14th, you don't succeed: Zhang's Slam history
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)PARIS – For eight long years, Zhang Shuai and Grand Slam tennis simply weren’t friends. Now she is the first Chinese player into the fourth round in Paris since Li in 2012. Kvitova beat 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round for the fifth time. 5 seed from Greece showed up for his third-round match at the French Open on Saturday with a pandemic-appropriate facial covering that had a picture of himself drawn on it. 30 seed from Tunisia, arrived sporting one, too, for her post-match news conference after becoming the first Arab woman to get to the fourth round at Roland Garros.
The Latest: Collins beats 2016 champ Muguruza at French Open
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)PARIS – The Latest from the French Open (all times local):___11:10 p.m.Danielle Collins grabbed the last four games to come back and beat 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the last third-round singles match at the French Open. Next up for Djokovic as he pursues a second French Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall: No. ___4:20 p.m.Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the fourth round at the French Open for the second year in a row. He came through the qualifying tournament to reach the French Open main draw. ___1:10 p.m.Andrey Rublev advanced to the French Open fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win against the unseeded South African Kevin Anderson.
Does Djokovic's next foe have hope? 'I was wondering that'
Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis in the second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)PARIS – At the mere mention of Novak Djokovic’s name, at the mere thought of sharing a court with a 17-time Grand Slam champion and the French Open’s No. He used these phrases: “really, really excited” and “really, really happy” and “really, really special.”Galan is, after all, ranked 153rd and never had won so much as one main-draw match at any major tournament until this week. Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champ, plays 87th-ranked Paula Badosa, who arrived in Paris with a 1-5 Grand Slam record. “Well,” came Galan’s reply, “I was wondering that, to be honest.”And then he launched into a story about how he was “really, really nervous” before playing former top 10-member David Goffin in the Davis Cup Finals last November.
Clipped wings: Virus turns tennis pros' flights into ordeals
Jennifer Brady of the U.S. prepares to serve against Denmark's Clara Tauson in the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. But tennis players cannot home-work. And so, as now-rare world travelers, they've also become unwitting first-hand witnesses of how the pandemic is battering the airline industry. But the novelty wore off after near-constant flying became part of her tennis job, until “I really didn't like it, especially long-haul." “The best thing during the lockdown was that I didn’t have to go on the plane.”___More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Thiem right at home in 1st-round win at a chilly French Open
Austria's Dominic Thiem reacts in the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)PARIS – Dominic Thiem felt right at home in the cold of the French Open on Monday. “I love the conditions because I’m from Austria, because I know how it is in these cold conditions," Thiem said on court. “Ten, 15 degrees, I love it.”Two weeks ago, Thiem won his first major tournament at the U.S. Open in New York. Serena Williams and Nadal were to follow Thiem on Chatrier, the main court at Roland Garros.
The Latest: Kerber loses French opener for 2nd straight year
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)PARIS – The Latest from the French Open (all times local):9 p.m.Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber has lost in the first round of the French Open for the second straight year. The 2009 French Open champion was beaten by Russian countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-1. But the 2016 French Open champion held firm to beat Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 8-6. He beat Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. The new roof over Court Philippe Chatrier is again proving its worth on Day 2 of the French Open.
'Didn't play good': No. 1 Pliskova won't dissect Open loss
I didnt play good, Pliksova said, so thats it.When another member of the media said this back-and-forth must be boring to Pliskova, she said, Yeah, a little bit. Three Americans turned in upsets of seeded women. Other seeded women who were eliminated: No. Pliskova had chances to take the second set against Garcia, who had been 0-8 against top-five opponents at Grand Slam tournaments. On the second, Garcia smacked a quick-strike forehand to a corner and Pliskova's running reply found the net.
Osaka-Goff rematch could happen in US Open's 3rd round
Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and 16-year-old Coco Gauff could face each other at the U.S. Open again after Thursdays, Aug. 27, 2020, draw for the Grand Slam tournament set up a possible third-round rematch. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)American teenager Coco Gauff and two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka could face each other at the U.S. Open again after Thursdays draw for the Grand Slam tournament set up a possible third-round rematch. Osaka, who won the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open, beat Gauff, then just 15, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round at Flushing Meadows a year ago. 1-ranked Ash Barty and 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu. The defending mens champion, Rafael Nadal, and 20-time Grand Slam title winner Roger Federer are also among those absent in New York this year.
Pain in the neck: Djokovic gets by in 1st post-hiatus match
A trainer works on the neck of Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, during his match with Ricardas Berankis, of Lithuania, during the second round at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in New York. 1-ranked Djokovic was playing his first ATP match in six months because of the coronavirus pandemic; he pulled out of the doubles event Sunday because of his neck. That major championship's site in Flushing Meadows is hosting the Ohio-based Western & Southern Open, too, as part of an unusual doubleheader with no spectators. Like Djokovic, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka emerged with difficult wins, while two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, the No. Djokovic now meets American Tennys Sandgren, a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (5) winner over No.
Barty joins players expressing concern over US Open timing
Barty has joined the ranks of high-profile players expressing concern over the staging of the U.S. Open while theres still so much uncertainty in the coronavirus pandemic. 1 hasnt had the chance yet to defend her French Open title because all elite tennis competition is shuttered. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)BRISBANE Ash Barty has joined the ranks of high-profile players concerned over the staging of the U.S. Open while theres still so much uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. 1 hasnt had the chance yet to defend her French Open title because all elite tennis competition is shuttered. Barty hasnt played competitively since a semifinal loss to Petra Kvitova at the Qatar Open in late February.