SAN JOSE, CALIF., JUNE 25 -- Ever since the news flashed over the wires from Madrid on June 4 that Danny Harris had dealt Edwin Moses his first 400-meter hurdles defeat in 122 races over 10 years, track buffs have eagerly awaited a rematch.

Barring disaster in Friday's semifinals, that race will take place here on Saturday, in the final at the 112th USA/Mobil Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Don't sell disaster short. As Eamonn Coghlan can attest following his fall in a sure-thing qualifying race in the world indoor championships, there is always the possibility it will intervene. Certainly, it loomed as a spoiler today when Moses' blocks slipped at the start of his quarterfinal heat and he fell.

The race immediately was recalled and Moses eventually breezed home first in a pedestrian 49.82. Harris was more impressive, in 48.79, but neither time was more than a formality. Moses' relief was genuine.

"The blocks slipped out from under me," Moses said. "I was glad to hear the second gun go off, because I was on my hands and knees, struggling to get up."

Both runners insisted that Harris' landmark victory had made little difference in the way they approached this meet.

"Instead of coming to the meet having everybody ask me when I'm going to beat Edwin, now they're asking him if he's going to beat me back," Harris said. "But besides the media attention and the phone ringing a little more, everything is just the same. I want it to be the same."

Moses said: "I'm looking forward to the next two days. I never looked back at my races even during the streak and I won't start now. I never go into a race thinking about anything except winning."

Harris, a third-string defensive back at Iowa State until a knee injury ended his football career, is completing a journalism major and he handled the media today with as much ease as he cleared the obstacles on the track.

"It's no big deal talking to the press," Harris said. "I like talking to you guys. I want to be one."

Of his relations with Moses, Harris said, "We get along. We don't have too much to say, because there is an obvious age differential {Harris is 21, Moses 31}. Remember, I was in sixth grade when his streak started. But I think we're friends.

"I don't feel like I'm chasing him. I feel like I'm chasing that 47.02 {Moses' world record}. It might come here, but the wind will have to stop and I'll have to have a lane near the outside. The turns are very tight here and I thought Edwin looked very good today running out of Lane 2."

Harris took the silver medal behind Moses in the 1984 Olympics, his first year of 400 hurdles competition. The Madrid race was their first meeting since.

Although the principal attention of the 5,100 spectators was focused on Harris and Moses, 10 hours were filled by competition in 25 events. The only final, the women's 10,000 meters, was won by Lynn Jennings in 32:19.15, with Francie Larrieu-Smith, 34, placing second in 32:45.43.

Carl Lewis opened his drive for a triple by qualifying easily in the 200 meters, long jump and 100 meters.

Lewis began his day's labor at 1:50 p.m. by taking his 200 quarterfinal, eased up, in 20.22 seconds. Fifty minutes later, he took a single long jump and became an automatic qualifier at 26-11 1/4, despite a takeoff well behind the board. Then, at 4:05, he breezed home first in his 100 heat in a wind-aided 10.06.

Lewis figures to get some tough competition in the 200, where the semifinal and final are scheduled less than two hours apart on Friday. NCAA winner Floyd Heard and Kirk Baptiste posted wind-aided 20.18 marks today and Calvin Smith, the defending world outdoor champion, advanced easily in 20.33.

Larry Myricks, the world indoor long jump king and perennial runner-up to Lewis, had the day's best effort of 27-1 3/4, which matched the stadium record. The long jump final is set for 1 p.m. Friday, moved up five hours at Lewis' request because the original time conflicted with the 200 final.

Butch Reynolds cruised through his 400-meter quarterfinal in 45.09 seconds. His 44.10 earlier this year is the fastest ever recorded without benefit of altitude. Antonio McKay, the world indoor winner and Reynolds' chief competition here, advanced comfortably in 45.35.

Evelyn Ashford had no trouble reaching the semifinals in both the 200 and 100. However, she obviously will be pressed to win both.

Florence Griffith posted the best 200 time, 22.35, compared to Ashford's eased-up 22.55. In the 100, Alice Brown ran a lifetime best of 11.01 and Jamaican Juliet Cuthbert posted a wind-aided 10.95 in outclassing Ashford, who elected to save energy in 11.14.

There was another wind-aided time of note in the 100-meter hurdles, as LaVonna Martin was timed in 12.83 while running away from Stephanie Hightower. Benita Brown, the Olympic champion from Dale City, Va., advanced to Friday's final in 13.20.

Alisa Harvey of Arlington, Va., qualified for Saturday's 1,500-meter final by winning her semifinal in 4:15.69. Eric Metcalf, also of Arlington, qualified for Friday's long jump final at 25-7 1/2, edging Georgetown's Raymond Humphrey for the final spot by a quarter inch. Georgetown graduate Suzanne Girard-Eberle reached Saturday's 3,000-meter final in 9:06.95.

Washington area athletes advancing to Friday semifinals included Patrick Mann, 49.93 in the 400-meter hurdles; Miles Irish, 1:47.80 in the 800 meters; Kellie Roberts, 57.91 in the women's 400 hurdles, and Terri Dendy, 52.94 in the women's 400.