Williams advances at Pan Pacific Open

TOKYO — Venus Williams rallied from a set down on Wednesday to defeat Simona Halep of Romania 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.

Williams, making her first appearance in the Tokyo tournament since 2009, broke serve to go up 5-3 in the second set at Ariake Colosseum and then won with a crosscourt forehand that Halep hit into the net.

Williams, who ousted top-seeded Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday, will face Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals.

Bouchard upset sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-2. In another third-round match, fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, defeated Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-1.

Youzhny overcomes illness to post win

BANGKOK — Fifth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia overcame an illness and reached the second round of the Thailand Open by beating Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday.

Youzhny will next face Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Istomin beat Jeong Suk-young of South Korea 6-3, 6-0.

Also, Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan defeated Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-3, 6-2.

In the second round, Robin Haase of the Netherlands beat Igor Sijsling 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (2) and sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain defeated Japanese qualifier Go Soeda 7-5 (6) 6-3.

Knicks, Nets to share 2015 All-Star game

NEW YORK — The Knicks and Nets are working together to split the NBA All-Star weekend in New York City in 2015.

The game will be played at Madison Square Garden and the slam dunk contest and other skills events held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Wednesday’s announcement completes about two years of planning, an idea brought to the teams by the league to share the three-day weekend.

The league last split sites for its midseason showcase in 2010, when the Saturday events were in the Dallas Mavericks’ arena and the game was held at the Cowboys’ stadium.

The game was last held at Madison Square Garden in 1998.

Ganassi to talk racing on website

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of racing’s biggest personalities is coming to the small screen.

A new Web-based series will feature Chip Ganassi Racing Teams boss Chip Ganassi.

The first episode of “Ganassi Unplugged” has the team owner discussing the changing face of auto racing both on the track and in the grandstands.

Ganassi discusses the importance of courting today’s teens as fans and making auto racing an attractive entertainment option.

Synthetic oil maker to sponsor Vegas bowl

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Bowl officials say synthetic oil and lubricant maker Royal Purple will be the game’s title sponsor for at least the next three years.

ESPN Regional Television announced Wednesday in Las Vegas that the Dec. 21 event will be called the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. The afternoon game will feature a top Mountain West team against the fifth-place finisher from the Pac-12.

Compiled from the AP