Top-seeded Serena Williams and No. 5 Jennifer Capriati advanced to the semifinals of the Italian Open in Rome with straight-set wins yesterday.

Second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo and No. 8 Vera Zvonareva, who both beat local favorites in the quarterfinals, will meet in today's other semifinal in the clay-court tuneup for the French Open.

Williams beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-5, 6-0, for her third straight win in her first tournament after missing a month with a knee injury.

Capriati, who beat Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi, 6-3, 6-3, has lost fewer games than any of the other semifinalists. She also reached the semifinals at the German Open last week, losing to Mauresmo.

Top-ranked Roger Federer beat Carlos Moya, 6-4, 6-3, defeating one of the best clay-court players to reach the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters. Defending champion Guillermo Coria of Argentina, seeded second, cruised into the semifinals by beating David Ferrer of Spain, 6-2, 6-2.

* COLLEGES: Maryland men's basketball recruit Sterling Ledbetter was released from a Hagerstown hospital and returned home to Laurel, his junior college coach said.

Allegany College Coach Bob Kirk said Ledbetter, who apparently fell asleep at the wheel of his car as he returned to the Cumberland campus Monday morning, was in good spirits and is eager to begin his recovery. He suffered a dislocated hip, which was placed back in its socket, and had oral surgery on Tuesday to repair damage to his face. . . .

The finest season in Virginia men's tennis history continued through the first round of the NCAA tournament with a 4-0 home win against American that enabled the Cavaliers to tie program records with their 23rd win and seventh victory in a row.

The sixth-seeded Cavs (23-3) took the first set in all six singles matches. Doug Stewart at No. 1, Rylan Rizza at No. 2 and Nick Meythaler at No. 5 finished off straight-set wins, clinching the victory.

* BASEBALL: Houston Manager Jimy Williams was suspended for one game and fined after a tirade against umpires during a game in Atlanta last weekend. Williams served the suspension last night in a game against the Mets. . . .

Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Lloyd McClendon was suspended for last night's game against San Francisco because of his actions during a game last weekend. McClendon was ejected by plate umpire Larry Young for arguing balls and strikes. . . .

Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. The move was made retroactive to May 7.

* HOCKEY: A federal judge ordered St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton to cease all contact with his agent David Frost, the man federal prosecutors say he wanted dead.

"Your best friends now are your attorneys," U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan told Danton during a hearing. "It's best to keep your mouth shut." . . .

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson will miss the rest of the playoffs after breaking his left index finger in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports