U.S. men’s basketball team to prep for FIBA World Cup with No. 1 Spain, Doncic’s Slovenia – Home of the Olympic Channel

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The U.S. men’s basketball team will play in a tournament with top-ranked Spain and Slovenia, possibly with Luka Doncic, in mid-August, two weeks before this summer’s FIBA World Cup.
The three nations make up a tournament in Málaga from Aug. 11-13 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish basketball federation.
It should be a key test for the U.S., which won its fourth consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, but lost an Olympic game for the first time since 2004 (to France in group play). The U.S. is expected to qualify for the World Cup next month.
At the last men’s World Cup in 2019, the U.S. lost twice and finished seventh overall, its worst major tournament result ever. That team had just two reigning NBA All-Stars and one player with Olympic experience.
New coach Steve Kerr will hope for a better turnout from the NBA’s best this summer for the World Cup co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, a month before NBA preseason training camps.
This past November, the U.S. men dropped out of the No. 1 spot in FIBA’s world rankings for the first time since 2010. Spain, coming off a European title, displaced the U.S. by a slim margin. The U.S. beat Spain in the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals.
Doncic led Slovenia to its first Olympic basketball berth in 2021. Slovenia, with a population of 2.1 million, became the smallest nation by current population to participate in an Olympic men’s basketball tournament since Estonia and Latvia in 1936.
The Slovenians beat Argentina and Spain in Olympic group play, then lost in the semifinals to France and the bronze-medal game to Australia.
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Top-ranked Iga Swiatek‘s defeat in the fourth round blew open the Australian Open women’s singles draw.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan took out Swiatek, a two-time French Open champion who won the most recent major, the U.S. Open in September.
This was already the first major field without any woman with four or more Slam titles since the 2003 U.S. Open.
That’s due to Serena Williams‘ retirement after the U.S. Open, Naomi Osaka‘s pregnancy break and Venus Williams‘ withdrawal due to injury. Other multiple major winners are also absent: Simona Halep due to a provisional doping ban and Angelique Kerber due to pregnancy. Not to mention reigning champion Ash Barty‘s retirement last March.
No. 3 seed Jessica Pegula, who swept Swiatek in the United Cup earlier in January, is now the top seed left. She can end the longest U.S. women’s singles major title drought this century and longest U.S. men’s and women’s singles major drought in the Open Era (since 1968).
Coco Gauff, the runner-up to Swiatek at last year’s French Open, is seeded seventh and looking to reach her first Australian Open quarterfinal. Gauff swept 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round and could play Pegula in the semifinals.
While Pegula and Gauff are in the top half of the draw, the bottom half is led by No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia of France and No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. No. 2 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up, was eliminated in the second round.
MORE: Australian Open Men’s Draw
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Australian Open Women's Singles Draw Australian Open Women's Singles Draw Australian Open Women's Singles Draw Australian Open Women's Singles Draw
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek was eliminated from the Australian Open by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the fourth round, busting open the women’s draw.
Rybakina, the 22nd seed who would be in the top 10 if the WTA counted 2022 Wimbledon ranking points, took out Swiatek, who won the French Open and U.S. Open last year, 6-4, 6-4 to become the first quarterfinalist in Melbourne.
She next gets No. 7 Coco Gauff or No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko. No. 3 Jessica Pegula, who plays No. 20 Barbora Krejcikova later Sunday, is now the highest women’s seed left.
Gauff and Pegula, who could meet in the semifinals, are looking to end the longest U.S. women’s singles major title drought this century (since Sofia Kenin won the 2020 Australian Open) and longest U.S. men’s and women’s singles major drought in the Open Era (since 1968).
Last July, Rybakina became the second-lowest-ranked woman to win Wimbledon at No. 23 in the world. She was born and raised in Moscow but in 2018 switched nationality to Kazakhstan, which offered more financial support of her tennis career.
Wimbledon banned Russians and Belarusians from playing last year due to the war in Ukraine. The WTA and ATP responded by stripping the event of its ranking points.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men
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