Argentina upset Australia on grass in Sydney yesterday to reach the semifinals of the Davis Cup, and was joined by Russia, Slovakia and Croatia.

Argentina, which beat the 28-time Davis Cup winner, 4-1, has never won the Davis Cup.

David Nalbandian sealed the victory by defeating Lleyton Hewitt, ranked second in the world, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. The win gave Argentina an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five tie.

"This is great, to beat Australia here and on grass, it's amazing," Nalbandian said. "We're trying so hard to win the Davis Cup, and I hope we can do it this year."

Guillermo Coria completed a 4-1 win for Argentina when he beat Peter Luczak, 6-3, 7-6 (13-11), in the second reverse singles match.

Argentina will face Slovakia in the semifinals. Slovakia beat the Netherlands, 4-1, to reach the final four for the first time, playing on indoor courts in Bratislava.

Russia rallied to beat France, 3-2, in Moscow when Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko won their reverse singles matches.

Russia will travel to Croatia in the semifinals. Croatia beat Romania, 4-1, after winning both reverse singles matches on indoor carpet in Split, Croatia.

The semifinals will be played Sept. 23-25. . . .

In Modena, Italy, Anna Smashnova won her 10th career title when Tathiana Garbin retired with sunstroke during a first set tiebreaker in the final of the Modena International.

Smashnova was leading the tiebreak 3-0 when the unseeded Italian asked for a break in play and collapsed on a bench.

Grimacing from cramps and nearly fainting, Garbin was treated by the tournament doctor and then carried on a stretcher to the club's infirmary. Organizers later said that Garbin had recovered.

* SOCCER: After tying 1-1 in regulation and through 30 minutes of overtime, Panama beat South Africa, 5-3, on penalty kicks in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals in Houston.

Panama advanced to Thursday's semifinals in East Rutherford, N.J., against Colombia, which upset Mexico, 2-1, earlier in the day. The United States will play Honduras in the other semifinal.

In the shootout, Panama's Luis Tejada, Angel Luis Rodriguez, Felipe Baloy, Alberto Blanco and Gabriel Gomez scored, while goalkeeper Jaime Penedo blocked the kick of South Africa's Ricardo Katza to set up the victory.

In the first game, Abel Aguilar scored on a 40-yard shot to help Colombia stun Mexico. Aguilar netted the winner in the 76th minute when he kicked the ball high and hard toward the goal while in a crowd, and it looped in over the top of goalkeeper Moises Munoz.

The two matches drew 60,050, the second-largest soccer crowd in Houston history, trailing only a 70,000 sellout for a United States-Mexico game in May 2003.

* SOFTBALL: In Oklahoma City, Japan advanced to play the United States in the championship game of the inaugural World Cup of Softball by beating Australia, 1-0, in eight innings.

Ayumi Karino, who started the eighth on second base under international tiebreaker rules, was sacrificed to third and scored when pitcher Melanie Roche misplayed Megu Hirose's grounder.

Yukiko Ueno threw a five-hit shutout for Japan, which will play the United States for the title tonight. The U.S. beat Japan, 7-0, on Saturday.

* SWIMMING: China won two gold medals in synchronized diving at the world aquatics championships in Montreal.

Jia Tong and Yuan Pei Lin finished first in women's 10-meter synchronized diving with 351.60 points, easily outdistancing Australians Loudy Tourky and Chantelle Newberry.

He Chong and Wang Feng won the men's three-meter synchronized springboard title with 384.42 points.

Germany's Tobias Schellenberg and Andreas Wels were second with 364.59. American brothers Justin and Troy Dumais earned bronze with 360.27.

The 11th world championships, which end July 31, are in North America for the first time.

In women's preliminary water polo matches, the United States and Spain played to a 6-6 tie, as did Venezuela and Cuba.

In other matches, Hungary defeated China, 18-4; Russia shut out Uzbekistan, 18-0; Greece defeated New Zealand, 9-4; and Australia beat Germany, 15-2.

* PLANE CRASH: A small plane piloted by the son of George Gund, former owner of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, crashed off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, killing six people, authorities said Saturday. No survivors were reported.

The pilot was Greg Gund, 32, who had lived for five years in a town about six miles south of the crash site, where he ran a gym.

-- From News Services