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Sofia Kenin is first U.S. tennis player to meet Olympic qualifying criteria

Sofia Kenin

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 08: Sofia Kenin of The United States of America celebrates after winning a point during her Women’s Singles semifinals match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on day twelve of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on October 08, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Sofia Kenin became the first American tennis player to mathematically clinch a Tokyo Olympic spot, more than a month before the fields are determined via world rankings.

Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, is ranked fourth in the world and highest among Americans. The three women ahead of her -- Australian Ash Barty, Japanese Naomi Osaka and Romanian Simona Halep -- also mathematically clinched Olympic berths.

The top four U.S. singles players per gender in the rankings after the French Open in June are in line to qualify for Tokyo.

It is now mathematically impossible for four other American women to pass Kenin in the WTA rankings by the end of Roland Garros. Kenin confirmed last month, before her most recent tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, that she plans to play the Olympics and will also play doubles if the opportunity arises.

If current standings hold, the automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic women’s singles team will be Kenin, Serena Williams, Jennifer Brady and Alison Riske.

Williams is likely to mathematically clinch during next week’s Italian Open. Brady is also in very strong position.

Madison Keys is currently ranked higher than Riske, but Keys has more ranking points dropping off from now through the French Open. That fourth singles spot is very much up for grabs between Riske and Keys. Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff also have a chance with a superb clay season.

In addition to singles, two more women can be named to the Olympic team for doubles and mixed doubles only. Venus Williams, the most decorated Olympic tennis player in history with five medals and four golds, is a candidate.

The U.S. men’s singles qualifying picture is tighter with none ranked in the top 25 in the world. John Isner, who was the highest-ranked American man for years until last month, said he will not play the Olympics.

MORE: List of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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