Serena Williams defeated France's Amelie Mauresmo, 6-3, 6-2, yesterday to win the Gaz de France, her first tournament since capturing the Australian Open.

The world's top-ranked woman was undeterred by a noisy, partisan crowd, winning in 64 minutes for her second title in this event and the 21st of her career.

Williams has won 11 straight matches this year -- seven at Australia and four in Paris.

"I'm real pleased to win here," said Williams, who has won five straight majors. "Because sometimes you do well in Grand Slams and then don't win the smaller championships. I think everything counts."

The third-seeded Mauresmo was making a comeback at this tournament after a four-month layoff because of a knee injury. She has lost to Williams in all six of their matches.

"I needed to play good," Williams said. "I told myself if I didn't play my top game Amelie could win."

Auto Racing

Qualifying Postponed

Rain forced the postponement of yesterday's pole qualifying for the Daytona 500.

NASCAR also said second-round time trials, originally set for today, will not be held. The lineups for Thursday's twin 125-mile qualifying races will also be determined today.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., coming off an impressive victory Saturday night in the non-points Budweiser Shootout -- the first NASCAR event of the new season -- is likely to be the favorite any time his powerful red No. 8 Chevrolet takes to the Daytona International Speedway oval this week.


Mosley Looks Ahead

Shane Mosley wanted to negotiate a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya with his fists. Three rounds with Raul Marquez, though, did nothing to improve his bargaining position.

Mosley's first fight at 154 pounds proved to be a brief affair when the bout was stopped late in the third round Saturday night because of deep cuts over the eyes of Marquez.

The fight in Las Vegas was ruled a no contest, but even worse for Mosley was that he did nothing to show he was worth more than the $4.25 million he was supposed to be paid to meet De La Hoya on Sept. 13.

"We'll negotiate and talk about it," Mosley said. "I feel good because I came in there and did what I had to do."


Inter Seizes Control

Inter Milan took control of Italy's Serie A league, capitalizing on a loss by cross-town rival AC Milan.

Inter beat Reggina, 3-0, on Christian Vieri's league-leading 18th goal and two goals by Mohamed Kallon. AC Milan, which had been sharing the lead with Inter for two weeks, lost, 1-0, on a goal by Perugia's Fabrizio Miccoli.

Defending Italian champion Juventus, which beat Empoli, 1-0, on a penalty kick from David Trezeguet, shares second place with AC Milan. . . .

In England's Premiership, Arsenal got another goal from Thierry Henry, but Laurent Robert tied it as Newcastle earned a 1-1 tie and jumped into third place.

Second-place Manchester United failed to make up ground, held to a 1-1 tie by Manchester City. Shaun Goater scored a late goal for City.

Newcastle moved ahead of Chelsea, which beat Birmingham, 3-1. Everton, in fifth place, lost to Charlton, 2-1, while Liverpool rallied for a 1-1 tie with Middlesbrough.


Gardner Loses Final

Rulon Gardner blamed his stubborn right foot for his loss in the finals of the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs -- his first full tournament since he lost a toe to frostbite last year.

The 267-pound Gardner, who gained worldwide fame after winning a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, lost to Cuba's Mijain Lopez, 3-0.

"If my feet were regular, I could have tried to hook my toe and get my balance before I went all the way down," Gardner said. "But I think with my toes still the way they are, I don't want to challenge them 100 percent." . . .

Wrestling's governing body has turned to one of the sport's biggest names -- Dan Gable.

Gable, one of wrestling's greatest competitors and its most successful college coach, was hired as interim head resident freestyle coach for USA Wrestling.

Gable will coach the men's freestyle wrestlers who participate in the U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete program. He will also coach the many U.S. freestyle wrestlers who come to Colorado Springs to train on a short-term basis.

Gable won a gold medal at the 1972 Games.