When he crossed the finish line at the conclusion of tonight's 4x100 relay semifinal at the world track and field championships, U.S. anchor Maurice Greene skipped gleefully and urged on the crowd as if he had just won another gold medal. Then, he pranced into the interview area singing, "Ain't no stopping us now!"

"See what happens," the grinning Greene said, "when the baton gets around?"

One of the bigger news flashes of the night was that members of the U.S. 4x100 relay team did not drop the baton. They did not run out of the designated hand-off area.

The United States advanced easily to Sunday's final round at the world track and field championships with a dominating victory. The time of 38.06 seconds was the best of the night and the fastest this year. "We were very conservative tonight," said Jon Drummond, who ran the leadoff leg. "Tomorrow, we're going to take it to the limit."

At the last two world championships and the 1988 Olympics, the U.S. men mishandled the baton and were disqualified. This year, it was Canada's turn to try to explain a muffed pass. A missed exchange between Glenroy Gilbert and Trevino Betty eliminated Canada, one of the United States' main challengers, in the semifinals.

The U.S. squad for tonight's semifinal and Sunday's final will be: Drummond, Tim Montgomery, Brian Lewis and Greene. Lewis and Montgomery muffed the exchange in the last world championships.

Anton Wins Marathon

Despite being in third place at about the 23-mile mark of tonight's men's marathon, Spain's Abel Anton managed to pass Italy's Vincenzo Modica and Japan's Nobuyuki Sato over the final three miles to win the gold medal in front of a hometown crowd at Olympic Stadium.

When Anton entered the stadium for one final lap, Modica--who won the silver--was nowhere in sight. Anton raised his arms and blew kisses to the crowd as he sailed across the finish line with a lead of nearly 30 seconds. He finished in 2:13.36 and won his second consecutive world title.

"For me, winning in Seville is special," he said. "It was a great moment for me to arrive first in the stadium in my own country with my own people supporting me."

Anton survived a race that began in scorching hot conditions at 6:45 p.m. The runners made their way down nearly shade-less roads through the early part of the race.

"The most difficult moment of the race," Anton said, "was around [23 miles] when I passed the Italian and headed for the Japanese." . . .

Eleanor Roosevelt High's Suziann Reid ran the first leg of the U.S. women's 4 x 400 first-round victory. . . . Despite the absence of Marion Jones, who withdrew from the championships after suffering back spasms and cramps during qualifying for the 200 meters, the U.S. women's 4x100 team set the world best this year in tonight's semifinal with a time of 42.28. That team consisted of Cheryl Taplin, Nanceen Perry, Inger Miller and Gail Devers. . . . Jones flew back to the United States this morning, according to her agent, Charlie Wells.