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Sharapova gets third-rounder vs. Pliskova in Paris

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PARIS — Two-time champion Maria Sharapova improved to 13-0 in second-round matches at the French Open by beating 50th-ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-4.

It took Sharapova a little bit to close things out. She led 5-2 in the second set, then served for the win at 5-3, but was broken when she sailed an off-balance forehand wide.

She broke right back to end it, though, converting her fifth match point with a forehand return winner.

Sharapova is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. She missed the clay-court Grand Slam tournament in 2016 while serving a doping suspension, then was denied a wild-card entry by the French tennis federation last year, when her ranking was too low to earn automatic entry.

The 31-year-old Russian won the title in 2012 and 2014, part of her career Grand Slam. She is seeded 28th this year.

Next for Sharapova is a matchup against sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open and a semifinalist in Paris a year ago. Pliskova’s twin sister lost to Serena Williams in the first round this week.

Pliskova reached the third round with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova.

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.