INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Playing just her seventh match of the year, Venus Williams rallied to beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
The match featured two former top-10 players who have fallen in the rankings. Williams is No. 36 in the world; Petkovic is 68th. The women met for the first time in five years.
Williams needed nearly two hours to advance and next plays third-seeded Petra Kvitova, runner-up to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open in January.
Williams’ younger sister, Serena, received a first-round bye and will play Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the 2016 final in the Southern California desert. Azarenka won that year, the last time the two major champions met.
Other winners in the women’s draw were American Madison Brengle, Kristina Mladenovic and Yulia Putintseva.
Men’s play began Thursday, with Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Pierre-Hugues Hebert 6-4, 6-0.
NOTTINGHAM, England — Former champion Donna Vekic finally got to play on grass at the Nottingham Open on Friday but had to overcome multiple rain delays and another switch indoors before reaching the semifinals.
The second-seeded Vekic defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-4 in a match played on two surfaces as rain again played havoc with the schedule.
The opening two days were completely washed out before organizers decided to switch the first and second rounds indoors as rain fell for four consecutive days.
Vekic, who won the tournament in 2017, will play Germany’s Tatjana Maria in her third straight semifinal in Nottingham. Maria earlier defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the only match completed on grass so far at the tournament.
Also Friday, American Jennifer Brady defeated fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 to set up a semifinal against top-seeded Caroline Garcia.
Garcia rallied to beat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 in the last quarterfinal.
STUTTGART, Germany — Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime will play Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the final of the Stuttgart Open.
The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime progressed to his third tour-level final without playing on Saturday as compatriot Milos Raonic withdrew ahead of their semifinal due to back problems. The sixth-seeded Raonic lost last year’s final to Roger Federer, who opted not to defend his title.
Berrettini defeated Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-5 in the other semifinal. The 30th-ranked Berrettini will be going for this third tour title and his first on grass after victories in Budapest in April, and Gstaad, Switzerland, last year.
The 21st-ranked Auger-Aliassime previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May – both on clay.