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Jittery Halep makes labored start at French Open

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PARIS – Top-ranked Simona Halep overcame some opening-match nerves to advance to the second round of the French Open on Wednesday, beating 83rd-ranked Alison Riske of the United States 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Halep took a bathroom break after Riske jumped out to a 5-0 lead and won the opening set, and looked like a new player when she came back on court. The Romanian unwrapped a new racket and attacked Riske’s serve with renewed vigor and aggression, breaking her to love in the second set’s first game.

After making 16 unforced errors and winning less than half the points on her serve in the first set, Halep completely reversed the momentum of the match, rediscovering her range and accuracy on the clay of Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Riske, meanwhile, wilted and won only 22 points in losing the second and third sets.

“It’s always tough to start the tournament,” said Halep, a finalist at Roland Garros last year and in 2014.

The match, the last in the first round of the women’s draw, was postponed Tuesday before storms drenched Roland Garros.

Halep’s next opponent, 72nd-ranked Taylor Townsend of the United States, played her first-round match on Tuesday.

“I’ll be ready,” Halep said. “We just have to adapt.”

Halep needs to reach the semifinals or better this year to have a chance of holding onto her No. 1 ranking after the French Open.

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

Billie Jean King to be grand marshal of NYC pride march

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NEW YORK (AP) Tennis legend Billie Jean King will be one of the grand marshals of New York City’s gay pride march as cities around the world hold LGBT pride events.

The marches commemorate the riots that erupted in response to a police raid at a New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in June 1969. A park across the street from the Stonewall was designated a national monument in 2016.

New York’s march will pass by the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village on Sunday before heading up Fifth Avenue.

March organizers plan to honor “community heroes” including Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor Emma Gonzales.

In addition to King, the grand marshals include transgender advocate Tyler Ford and civil rights organization Lambda Legal.

Federer again pushed hard, advances to Halle semifinals

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Matthew Ebden 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open on Friday.

Federer was made to work hard by Ebden, who saved five of the eight break points he faced and was leading 5-3 in the second set.

Federer, who saved two match points against Benoit Paire in the second round the day before, recovered to go 6-5 up and then broke Ebden to take his first match point for a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.

Kudla earlier defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 to book his semifinal place.

Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 19 including the Stuttgart title and last year’s titles in Halle and Wimbledon. He is bidding for a record-extending 10th trophy in Halle.