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Goods worth $400K stolen from Venus Williams’ Florida home

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Burglars hit tennis star Venus Williams’ Florida home, stealing $400,000 worth of goods while she was at the U.S. Open, police said Thursday.

The burglary happened between Sept. 1 and 5 at Williams’ 10,000-square-foot (1,000-square-meter) home, which is in a well-to-do gated community, Palm Beach Gardens police said in a statement. Police blacked out from their report what was stolen. No arrests have been made.

Palm Beach County property records show Williams and her sister Serena bought the home new in 2000. It is now valued at $2.3 million.

Venus Williams’ agent, Carlos Fleming, did not respond to an email seeking comment. The burglary was first reported by WPEC-TV.

This is the second time in five months Palm Beach Gardens police did not publicly release information about an incident involving Williams until it was reported by a news outlet.

In June, Williams was involved in a traffic accident near her home that killed a passenger in the other car. Police have said the accident investigation remains open, and she is being sued by the dead man’s estate. Palm Beach Gardens police did not issue a news release or the accident report until the website TMZ published a story three weeks after the crash.

Maj. Eduardo Guillen said it is not the department’s practice to issue news releases about major crimes and fatal traffic accidents involving its residents, something other departments in Florida and nationally do routinely.

“The department is not in the business of randomly releasing information on cases. Ms. Williams is a private citizen within our community and she will be extended the same privacy all our citizens expect,” Guillen said in an email to The Associated Press.

The suburb of about 54,000 residents is mostly middle class, but has wealthy enclaves.

Williams, 37, has had one of her best recent years on the court, finishing second at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open and reaching the semi-finals at the U.S. Open.

Williams has seven career Grand Slam titles and career on-court earnings of nearly $40 million. She has her own clothing line and endorsement deals with Ralph Lauren, Kraft foods, Tide detergent and Wilson sporting goods. She also owns a small percentage of the Miami Dolphins.

Top-ranked Halep wins tough 3-setter in Miami

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania struggled to post a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 second-round win over French lucky loser Oceane Dodin at the Miami Open on Thursday.

In the first career meeting between the players, Halep allowed the 98th-ranked Dodin to break her serve on six of seven opportunities she presented in the match, which lasted more than two hours.

Halep broke Dodin’s serve for the seventh time at 4-4 in the third set before closing it out.

Halep played in her third career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, but has yet to secure a Grand Slam trophy.

Halep’s best Miami Open was reaching the 2015 semifinals.

Also Thursday, former No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Kerber is 19-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all five tournaments she’s played.

Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, won her first tournament since that U.S. Open at Sydney in January. She also reached the Australian Open semifinals.

Serena Williams loses in first round at Miami Open to Osaka

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Serena Williams lost in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday, still rusty in her return from pregnancy and unable to overcome a tough draw against Naomi Osaka, who won 6-3, 6-2.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who earned her first career title Sunday at Indian Wells, showed no signs of letup and overpowered the erratic Williams. Osaka had the stronger serve, and in rallies wore down Williams working her from side to side.

The matchup worthy of a final came about because both players are unseeded. Osaka is ranked a career-best 22nd, while Williams’ ranking is 491st after her layoff of more than a year.

Another new mother and former No. 1, three-time Key Biscayne champion Victoria Azarenka, defeated Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0.

Williams has endured a first-round defeat only four other times, most recently at the 2012 French Open. The latest loss came at a tournament she has won a record eight times and considers her hometown event.

The match was the last for Williams at Key Biscayne, 90 miles south of her home in Palm Beach Gardens. The tournament is moving next year to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, and Williams helped with the ceremonial groundbreaking Monday.

After her defeat, she left without speaking to the media.

Because of Williams’ ranking, she entered the draw as a wild card, and looked the part. She was a step slow to balls in the corners and often late with her swing, while she put barely half her first serves in play.

Osaka, who has both American and Japanese citizenship and lives in Fort Lauderdale, was playing her idol for the first time but didn’t seem a bit fazed. She improved to 14-4 this year.

Things may get tougher for her in the second round, when she’ll face No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina.

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