The Latest: Williams beats Stephens in 3 sets at US Open

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Serena Williams, of the United States, serves to Margarita Gasparyan, of Russia, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times EDT):

4:13 p.m.

Serena Williams has come back from a slow start to beat Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the U.S. Open’s third round.

Williams’ victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday allowed her to avoid what would have been her earliest exit at Flushing Meadows since she lost in the third round in her tournament debut all the way back in 1998.

Williams was 16 then and had yet to win a Grand Slam title. She turns 39 in three weeks and is pursuing her 24th major championship in singles.

Williams will face Maria Sakkari of Greece in the fourth round.

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3:40 p.m.

Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens are heading to a third set in their third-round showdown at the U.S. Open.

Stephens took the first set 6-2, and Williams grabbed the second by the same score.

Williams has won six of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Flushing Meadows. Stephens won the 2017 title in New York.

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2:45 p.m.

Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens have started their third-round U.S. Open match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams has won six of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Flushing Meadows; Stephens won the 2017 title in New York.

That matchup follows 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev’s 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over American wild-card entry J.J. Wolf in Ashe.

Other third-round winners Saturday include No. 10 Andrey Rublev in the men’s draw, and No. 16 Elise Mertens in the women’s, both in straight sets.

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2:25 p.m.

Kristina Mladenovic and her partner, Timea Babos, have been dropped from the U.S. Open women’s doubles competition after Mladenovic was issued a quarantine notice by public health officials of Nassau County, New York.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced the withdrawal Saturday, saying it was “obligated to adhere to government guidance.”

Mladenovic was one of seven players placed under extra restrictions during the tournament after contact tracing determined she potentially could have been exposed to COVID-19 by Benoit Paire, the only entrant to test positive.

Mladenovic had been allowed to continue to compete in singles. She won in the first round but lost in the second round after blowing a 6-1, 5-1 lead.

The USTA says the new quarantine orders mean those players “identified as having prolonged close contact with the infected player will quarantine in their rooms for the remainder of their quarantine period.”

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12:15 p.m.

Maria Sakkari reached the fourth round at her second consecutive Grand Slam tournament after needing just 55 minutes to eliminate mistake-prone American teen Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-1.

The 22nd-seeded Anisimova, who turned 19 on Monday, finished with 28 unforced errors and just four winners. Sakkari made eight errors.

The 15th-seeded Sakkari entered 2020 with an 0-7 record in third-round matches at major championships.

But she finally won at that stage at the Australian Open in January, then did it again Saturday in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Normally the Grand Slam circuit would head to Paris and London between Melbourne and New York. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the French Open was postponed from May until late September and Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years.

Sakkari will play Serena Williams or Sloane Stephens next.

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11:30 a.m.

Day 6 has started at the year’s second Grand Slam tournament — the U.S. Open normally closes the major tennis championship season but the pandemic caused changes to the calendar.

The sun is shining and the temperature is in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius) as the third round continues Saturday.

Among the matches underway: No. 15 Maria Sakkari of Greece is facing No. 22 Amanda Anisimova of the U.S. in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The highlight of the afternoon is expected to be Serena Williams against Sloane Stephens in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles, including six in New York. Stephens won the 2017 U.S. Open.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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