Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will be the only top-ranked American woman representing her country this weekend when the United States faces defending champion Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals in Moscow.
Williams is ranked eighth in the world, two spots behind her younger sister. Serena Williams and top-ranked Lindsay Davenport both pulled out of the tournament with injuries, leaving United States captain Zina Garrison with a weakened team.
Williams will open against 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina today on clay at the Olympic indoor stadium. . . .
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets to reach the semifinals at the Swedish Open in Bastad, Sweden.
The French Open champion, a quarterfinal loser the past two years in this clay-court tournament, beat his fellow Spaniard, 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal will play another Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, in today's semifinals.
* SOCCER: Defending champion Mexico lost a CONCACAF Gold Cup game for the first time since 2002, dropping a 2-1 decision to South Africa in a first-round game in Carson, Calif.
Philip Evans and Elrio Van Heerden scored for South Africa, which dealt Mexico just its fourth loss in the competition since the tournament began in 1997. Guatemala played Jamaica in a late game last night.
The Gold Cup matches scheduled for the Orange Bowl in Miami were postponed a day because of the approach of Hurricane Dennis.
Colombia and Honduras, expected to play the second game today, will play the opening match tomorrow, followed by Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.
The third set of first-round games in Miami, originally scheduled for Monday, has been switched to Tuesday afternoon. Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago will play before Panama and Honduras close the group's matches Tuesday night.
* TRACK AND FIELD: Olympic champion Justin Gatlin ran his fastest 100-meter time of the season, winning the race at the Golden Gala meet in 9.96 seconds in Rome.
Following Gatlin in his gold-trimmed suit were Aziz Zakari of Ghana in 10.06 and American Leonard Scott in 10.11.
Jamaica's Asafa Powell, who set the world record of 9.77 in Athens on June 14, pulled out of the race with a lingering groin injury.
* BASEBALL: Two months ago, Katie Brownell was just happy to be playing Little League ball with all of her boy friends. Now, she's a Hall of Famer.
The 12-year-old Brownell, who etched her name in baseball lore when she tossed a perfect game in Batavia, N.Y., on May 14, striking out all 18 batters she faced in a six-inning game, on Thursday donated the No. 3 jersey she wore that day to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown N.Y. The jersey will be placed on display in the museum's Today's Game exhibit and later will become part of either the Women in Baseball exhibit or Youth Baseball exhibit.
* OLYMPICS: Equestrian events for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will be held in Hong Kong for the "best interests of the competition and the well-being of the horses," the International Olympic Committee announced in Singapore. The agreement finalized Beijing's push to have the equestrian competition moved from the Chinese capital.
"Sanitary problems make this very difficult and by mutual agreement [the groups] have decided to move to Hong Kong," IOC President Jacques Rogge said.
* FOOTBALL: Several former Washington Redskins -- including Charles Mann, Dexter Manley, Gary Clark and Mark Moseley -- and former Philadelphia Eagles -- including Randall Cunningham and Herschel Walker -- will participate in the Flag Football Legends Showdown at 3 p.m. on July 24 at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.
Proceeds will benefit Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles charities, the NFL Players Assistance Trust Fund and the Greater Washington Sports Alliance. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at Ticketmaster or at www.flagfootballshowdown.com.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports