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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

Federer, Zverev lead Team Europe to Laver Cup win

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CHICAGO — Alexander Zverev beat Kevin Anderson on Sunday night to give Team Europe a victory in the second Laver Cup.

Zverev won the final five points to defeat Anderson 6-7, 7-5, (10-7). His victory helped Team Europe beat Team World 13-8.

Roger Federer earlier put Team Europe ahead by saving three match points for a 6-7, 7-6, (10-7) victory over John Isner.

Isner staggered Federer with a body serve that caused the 20-time Grand Slam winner to stumble early in the match. But Federer regrouped and fought off two match points in the second-set tiebreaker before capturing the deciding 10-point tiebreaker used in the Laver Cup.

In the opening doubles match, Jack Sock and Isner saved two match points in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Federer and Zverev 4-6, 7-6, (11-9).

Team Europe won the first Laver Cup last year in Prague.

Muguruza wins in first round of Wuhan Open; Ostapenko loses

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WUHAN, China — Gabrine Muguruza got off to winning start at the Wuhan Open. Jelena Ostapenko didn’t.

Muguruza defeated Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-0 on Monday in the first round of the tournament, avenging a second-round loss to the Belgian at Wimbledon.

“I’m happy that I won this time. I remember the match from Wimbledon, like a very tough match for me,” said Muguruza, who had been the defending champion at the All England Club. “It’s always good to play again the same person that beat you, feeling good you did something much better than the previous match.”

Muguruza will next face Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Ostapenko, who followed Muguruza as French Open champion in 2017, was beaten by Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-4.

Gavrilova, who won for only the second time in four appearances at the Wuhan Open, broke Ostapneko’s serve five times. She will next play Barbora Strycova, who defeated Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-2.

Ashleigh Barty, a finalist last year in Wuhan, defeated Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-4 to advance.

Other winners included Aryna Sabalenka, Donna Vekic, Aleksandra Krunic, Dominika Cibulkova, Madison Keys and Wang Xiyu.