U.S. Open Day 4 live coverage

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5:30 p.m.

Venus Williams breezed through her second-round match at the U.S. Open.

The seven-time major champ had spent 2 hours, 42 minutes on court in a tense three-set victory over 93rd-ranked Kateryna Kozlova on Tuesday. But against German veteran Julia Goerges on Thursday, Williams won 6-2, 6-3 in 78 minutes.

She had just 17 unforced errors – in complete contrast to the whopping 63 in her first-round win.

The oldest player in the draw at age 36, the sixth-seeded Williams is coming off a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon, her deepest run at a major since 2010.

4:50 p.m.

Play has resumed on the outer courts at the U.S. Open after a rain delay of more than 2+ hours.

Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori and No. 8 Dominic Thiem were among the players who had their matches halted Thursday. Nishikori split the first two sets against qualifier Karen Khachanov.

With the new roof closed over Arthur Ashe Stadium, No. 2 Andy Murray was able to play his match with no delays.

Eleven doubles matches were canceled Thursday because of the rain.

3:40 p.m.

Wimbledon champ Andy Murray advanced to the third round at the U.S. Open with another straight-set victory.

The second-seeded Murray beat Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium with play suspended on the outer courts. The heavy rain outside made quite a clatter on the new roof, and Murray said in his on-court interview that it was tough at first because it was hard to hear the ball.

Murray jumped to a quick 5-2 lead in the first set, then it took about 23 minutes to get through the last two games as Granollers saved six set points and got back on serve. But Murray earned another break to finally clinch the set after 67 minutes, then cruised through the final two in 75 minutes combined.

2:15 p.m.

Play has been suspended on the outer courts at the U.S. Open because of rain.

Matches started an hour late Thursday after morning showers. Players were on court for just over two hours before the skies opened up again.

The new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium remained closed the whole time with matches taking place as scheduled.

1 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Simona Halep beat 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova in straight sets to move on to the third round of the U.S. Open.

Halep won 6-3, 6-4 under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday. On a rainy morning, the new roof was closed at the start of a match for the first time after it made its debut in the middle of Rafael Nadal’s win Wednesday night.

Halep said in her on-court interview that she liked the calm conditions of playing indoors but she was “a little bit cold.” She added later that it was nice to not need to wait out a rain delay.

12:35 p.m.

Play has started on the outer courts at the U.S. Open after a delay of just over an hour.

Rain pushed back the start of every match Thursday other than the one at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which now has a roof.

The $150 million retractable roof made its competition debut Wednesday night during Rafael Nadal’s win over Andreas Seppi, then was closed for the beginning of Thursday’s day session to allow fifth-seeded Simona Halep’s match against Lucie Safarova to start on time.

12:30 p.m.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced a multi-year partnership with Adidas on Thursday to make the German sportswear giant the official sponsor of USTA player development.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the deal, which gives Adidas a presence throughout the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. – the headquarters of the organization’s player development efforts – and branding of the USTA’s top-flight junior tournament series and league tennis.

USTA Player Development general manager Martin Blackman says the partnership also makes Adidas the official outfitter of player development coaches “to reflect the look and professionalism that exemplifies Team USA.”

Adidas is the sponsor of such stars as Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber. The company’s U.S. senior director of tennis David Malinkowski noted that the partnership could also help forge relationships with up-and-coming American tennis stars.

11 a.m.

Venus and Serena Williams are set to play back-to-back, second-round matches Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium, which may need its new retractable roof for much of the day because light rain is falling and more is expected.

No. 6-seeded Venus Williams will take on Julia Goerges of Germany in the afternoon, followed by No. 1 Serena Williams against Vania King in an all-American matchup to start the night session.

Another key match comes in the nightcap on Ashe, when 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro takes on 19th-seeded American Steve Johnson. Del Potro, whose ranking dropped to No. 142 because of wrist injuries over the past 2 ½ years, has returned to Grand Slam play this year and made a strong run to the silver medal at the Olympics.

The Wimbledon champ and Olympic gold medalist, No. 2-seeded Andy Murray, is also in action on Ashe, facing Marcel Granollers. They’ve played seven previous times, with Murray winning six.

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.