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WTA: Rule changes on ranking after pregnancy, leggings

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The women’s tennis tour has approved rule changes that involve seedings after a return from pregnancy. Former No. 1 players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are recent mothers on the tour.

The WTA says players returning to the tour may use a “special ranking” for up to three years from the birth of a child, and the exemption can be used for seedings at big events.

The tour says it will ensure women at WTA tournaments “are not penalized or prohibited from wearing leggings or compression shorts without a skirt, dress or shorts over them.”

Williams, who owns an Open era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, was unseeded at this year’s French Open in her first major since the birth of her daughter.

In August, the president of the French Tennis Federation said Williams could no longer wear the black bodysuit at the French Open.

Tsonga rallies past qualifier to reach quarterfinals in Lyon

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LYON, France (AP) Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Canadian qualifier Steven Diez on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals and extend his perfect record at the Lyon Open.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion, came within two points of losing but finally prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on his sixth match point after 2 hours, 42 minutes.

The clay-court event serves as a warmup for the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“It was good for me to play a long match like this,” Tsonga said. “I haven’t played a match this long for a while. I am not playing my best level, but I am giving everything mentally and that gives me confidence.”

Tsonga will next take on top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat lucky loser Tristan Lamasine 7-5, 7-5.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Top-seeded Barty withdraws from French Open warm-up event

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STRASBOURG, France (AP) Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the Internationaux de Strasbourg clay-court tournament on Tuesday because of a right arm injury.

Barty was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica.

The eighth-ranked Australian said she would not take any risk ahead of the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“I gave it my best chance, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be playing my best tennis,” Barty said. “I’m busy the next two months and I need to look after my body now.”