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Nadal wins his 200th career Grand Slam match

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PARIS (AP) The Latest on the French Open (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Novak Djokovic is now the seventh man with at least 50 match wins in the French Open.

Next on his agenda: joining the other six on that list with a title at Roland Garros.

Trying to complete a career Grand Slam, the top-seeded Djokovic moved into the third round by beating 161st-ranked qualifier Steve Darcis of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday, overcoming 42 unforced errors on a windy afternoon.

That improved Djokovic’s career record in the clay-court tournament to 50-11. He’s made it to the final three times in the past four years but lost each time.

The other men with 50 victories at the French Open – Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Nicola Pietrangeli – all won the championship at some point.

3:10 p.m.

Eugenie Bouchard attributes her early exit from the French Open more to her mind than her tennis.

After her 6-4, 6-4 second-round loss to Timea Bacsinszky, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist says “tennis is 90 percent mental” and that “the brain is like a muscle” that needs workouts.

The 47th-ranked Canadian says her mentality used to be “my amazing strength” and that “I feel like I’ve not used that as much in the past year or so,” during which the 22-year-old Canadian’s ranking has slipped.

2:50 p.m.

Once Rafael Nadal got past the briefest of slow starts, he was just fine, easily collecting the 200th Grand Slam match victory of his career.

Nadal fell behind 2-0 against 99th-ranked Facundo Bagnis of Argentina, then cleaned up his act and took 14 of the next 15 games Thursday en route to winning 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

Nadal has won 200 of 230 matches in majors, a winning percentage of .870. Only seven other men have earned that many victories at Grand Slam tournaments; Roger Federer holds the record of 302.

The fourth-seeded Nadal owns 14 Grand Slam titles – tied with Pete Sampras for second-most behind Federer’s 17 – including a record nine at Roland Garros.

2:10 p.m.

Ana Ivanovic has reached the third round of the French Open for the 10th time, beating Kurumi Nara 7-5, 6-1.

Ivanovic, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2008, is seeded No. 14 this year.

Also, 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic was eliminated, losing to Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-2.

1:50 p.m.

Malek Jaziri has failed in his bid to become the first Tunisian man in 53 years to reach the third round of the French Open.

Jaziri lost to seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and French Open semifinalist, says he was “really pushed and I was able to come back and win.”

The last Tunisian to reach the third round at Roland Garros was Mustafa Belkhodjia in 1963.

1:20 p.m.

With a victory over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round French Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would become only the third Frenchman with 100 wins in Grand Slam tournaments.

The others were Jean Borotra, with 103, and Henri Cochet, with 102.

Footage from The Associated Press archives – dated exactly 84 years ago – of Borotra playing Fred Perry shows how dramatically tennis has changed.

12:50 p.m.

Eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky, a French Open semifinalist last year, advanced to the third round at Roland Garros by beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-4.

Bacsinszky was broken in her first service game, but the 2014 Wimbledon finalist couldn’t hold the lead. The Swiss broke back in the seventh game, broke Bouchard again with a backhand winner for a 5-4 lead, and served out the first set.

Trailing 5-0 in the second set and with Bacsinszky serving for the win, Bouchard got back into the match, saving a match point and earning two break points that would have leveled the score at 5-5 but she failed to convert.

After making the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2014, Bouchard lost in the first round last year. From a career-high year-end ranking of seventh, the 22-year-old Canadian slipped out of the top 40 in 2015 and struggled with an eating disorder she says she has since conquered.

11:35 a.m.

Rafael Nadal can win his 200th Grand Slam match on Thursday if he beats Facundo Bagnis of Argentina in the second round of the French Open.

Nadal, a record nine-time champion at Roland Garros, would become the eighth man in history to win 200 matches at major tournaments. The man with the most wins is Roger Federer, who has 302 over his career but is missing from this year’s French Open because of injury.

Novak Djokovic, the current top-ranked player, can win his 50th match at Roland Garros by defeating qualifier Steve Darcis of Belgium. But the milestone that really matters to Djokovic is winning his first French Open, the only Grand Slam he hasn’t won .

2-time Wimbledon champ Kvitova wins return from knife attack

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PARIS —¬†Sweat-soaked and still wearing her match outfit, Petra Kvitova was looking for someone to hug as she wandered into the players’ lounge in the French Open’s main stadium shortly after leaving the court Sunday.

She found her father, Jiri, and her brother, also Jiri, who greeted her with warm embraces and joyous kisses on the cheek. Kvitova’s family members rarely attend her tournaments, but this was different – “special” was the word she, and others, kept using.

Less than six months after a knife attack at her home, two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova was back competing, winning the first match of her comeback 6-3, 6-2 at Roland Garros against 86th-ranked Julia Boserup of the United States.

“I’m happy with the game, of course,” Kvitova said, “but I mean, it wasn’t really about the game today.”

Indeed, just being there under a cloud-filled sky at Court Philippe Chatrier was a triumph of sorts for Kvitova, who needed surgery on her left hand – the one she uses to hold her racket – after being stabbed by an intruder in the Czech Republic in late December. She was undecided until late last week whether to even try to play in the French Open.

“For us, it’s amazing. It’s miracle. Not even me or Petra thought she could be ready to come back so soon,” said her coach, Jiri Novak. “The prognosis was, let’s just say, not optimistic.”

During her on-court interview, Kvitova addressed Novak, her family and others in her guest box, saying: “Thank you for everything you helped me through (in) this difficult time.”

Several members of her entourage wore black T-shirts with white capital letters on the front that read, “Courage. Belief. Pojd.” That last word, which is the Czech equivalent of “Come on!” and was spelled with a red heart instead of the “O,” is often yelled by Kvitova to celebrate particularly good shots.

“The belief and the mind, the heart, it’s really important,” Kvitova said afterward. “So that’s … what we try to show everyone. I hope that it will be kind of inspiration for other people, as well.”

There were plenty of opportunities for her to clench a fist and scream “Pojd!” on Sunday against Boserup, who was making her debut in the French Open’s main draw and facing a lefty for the first time.

“She’s one of the nicest girls, and we are all really happy to see her back. After what she went through, it’s incredible,” Boserup said. “So it’s a victory for her to be back on court. It was really special.”

Kvitova began things with a quick forehand winner on the opening point.

“Amazing,” she said. “I surprised myself.”

Kvitova wound up compiling the match’s first 10 winners and finished with a 31-9 edge in that category. She took 15 of the first 20 points en route to a 3-0 lead and never really faced a whole lot of resistance, other than when she saved three break points – the only ones she had to deal with in the match – while ahead 3-1.

When it was over, Kvitova dropped her racket near the baseline and removed her blue headband. As she walked to the net for a handshake, her eyes welled with tears.

“We are happy that she is healthy. The hand is good – and also the head,” her brother Jiri said. “Mentally, she is back.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Venus Williams eases into French Open’s second round after beating Qiang Wang

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In a record 20th appearance at the French Open, Venus Williams eased into the second round with a straight sets victory over Qiang Wang of China.

Williams, who is seeded 10th, saved two set points to win 6-4, 7-6 (3).

The 36-year-old American will play Kurumi Nara of Japan in the next round.