Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. EDT:
– NEW YORK – Past champions Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray highlight Day 4 of the U.S. Open. And youth is served with 15-year-old CiCi Bellis, who is coming off her opening victory.
– College football gets going with three Top 25 games: No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 21 Texas A&M (6 p.m.); No. 18 Mississippi vs. Boise State at Atlanta (8 p.m.); No. 19 Arizona State vs. Weber State (10:30 p.m.).
– After years of deriding the BCS, fans finally get what they wanted with the new College Football Playoff. A rundown of the top teams, players and games.
– Nearly half of parents say they’re not comfortable letting their child play football amid growing uncertainty about the long-term impact of concussions, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.
– Sixteen NFL exhibition games, the final preseason tuneups for all teams.
– A subtle change to the NFL rulebook resulted in an 822 percent increase in illegal contact penalties through three weeks of the preseason. The question now is how often flags will fly when games count?
– BILBAO, Spain – The U.S. national team – without LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Paul George – is good enough to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup. But it’s also vulnerable enough to lose.
– NORTON, Mass. – Stuart Appleby is an example of how one week can change everything in the FedEx Cup playoffs. One week his season is close to over. Now he’s looking at going to all the majors.
– ANAHEIM, Calif. – The teams with the majors’ best records open a four-game series when the Athletics play the Angels. Sonny Gray of Oakland opposes C.J. Wilson of Los Angeles. Game starts 10 p.m.
– Will Power takes a 51-point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves into the IndyCar Series finale this weekend at Fontana. The championship is his for the taking, but Castroneves is outstanding on ovals.
– Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun joins her sister as a winner of the WNBA rookie of the year award.
– MONACO – Michel Platini won’t contest Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, though he hopes somebody will. Blatter, 78, is in position to win a fifth term – possibly unopposed for a third straight time.
– PYONGYANG, North Korea – A Japanese pro-wrestler-turned-politician arrives in North Korea with a former NFL lineman in a bit of sports diplomacy recalling Dennis Rodman’s basketball game this year.