Serena Williams reached the semifinals for the first time in more than a year, beating Amy Frazier, 6-2, 6-2, on Friday night to advance in the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open at Mason, Ohio.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion whose WTA Tour ranking fell to 140th while she took six months off because of a chronic left knee injury, will face 52nd-ranked Vera Zvonareva tonight. Williams last reached a semifinal in Dubai in March 2005. She has played only nine tournaments since then.
Defending champion Patty Schnyder overcame ninth-seeded Sania Mirza and two rain delays to also reach the semifinals with a 7-6 (7), 7-5 win.
The top-seeded Schnyder will face fourth-seeded Katarina Srebotnik today. Srebotnik reached the semifinals for the first time in 14 tournaments this season with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli.
Top-seeded James Blake, second-seeded Andy Roddick and No. 4 Robby Ginepri advanced in the RCA Championships with straight-set victories in Indianapolis.
Roddick has accepted a wild-card spot into the Countrywide Classic, starting Monday at UCLA. Other wild cards were given to 18-year-old Sam Querrey of Thousand Oaks and 20-year-old Scott Oudesma.
Previously announced entrants David Nalbandian, Ivan Ljubicic, Mario Ancic and Taylor Dent are not playing at UCLA because of injuries, according to the ATP.
Former champion Justine Henin-Hardenne has withdrawn from the Acura Classic, July 31-Aug. 6 in Carlsbad, because of an injured knee.
Hamlin Gets Late Start to NASCAR Pole
Denny Hamlin won the pole for Sunday's NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Hamlin, who won at Long Pond last month, made his qualifying lap very late in the session with Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne sitting on top of the chart. But he posted a lap at 169.827 mph to grab the pole.
Sebastien Bourdais won the provisional pole for the Edmonton Grand Prix after the opening round of time trials at Edmonton's City Center Airport in Canada. The provisional pole assures the Frenchman of a front row start Sunday.
Bourdais' closest rival for this year's Champ Car World Series title, A.J. Allmendinger, crashed early in the session and finished 17th out of 18 drivers.
UCLA's Adams Leads
U.S. to Nordic Cup Final
UCLA's Danesha Adams scored three goals in Sandnes, Norway, to lead the U.S. under-21 women's team to a 4-0 victory over Norway in the Nordic Cup. The United States will play Germany in today's championship.
Carlos Alberto Parreira, who resigned as Brazil coach on Wednesday, said he has been contacted by the South African Football Assn. about coaching its national team. South Africa will play host to the 2010 World Cup.
Wins Pac-10 Honor
UCLA gymnast Kate Richardson has won the Pacific 10 Conference woman-of-the-year award and will represent the conference as its nominee for the NCAA woman of the year.
The NCAA's investigation of possible "diploma mills" no longer includes perennial basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy and Fork Union Military Academy, which has helped produce more than 70 NFL players. After visiting the Virginia campuses, NCAA officials said that the schools' grades and course work will continue to be used in determining athletic eligibility for college-bound students.
Duke hired John Danowski from Hofstra to coach its embattled men's lacrosse team.
Danowski, whose son Matt is a Duke senior and All-American attackman for the Blue Devils, replaces Mike Pressler, who resigned after a woman told police she was raped by three men at a team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.
The San Antonio Spurs signed 6-foot-10 center Jackie Butler, a restricted free agent who spent the last two seasons with the New York Knicks.
Former All-Star Kemp
Faces Marijuana Charge
Former NBA All-Star Shawn Kemp was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after a traffic stop in Houston. Kemp posted a $500 cash bond and faces a July 28 court appearance.