Serena Williams takes over No. 1 spot
LONDON, July 5 (UPI) -- Serena Williams stormed into the Wimbledon final Thursday and ensured she will become the top-ranked player in the world with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Amelie Mauresmo.
Williams, the second seed, fired seven aces and registered four service breaks to earn a spot in the Wimbledon championship for the first time. She will take over the top spot in the WTA rankings on Monday from her sister, Venus, who also will be her opponent in the final Saturday.
"It's just been a goal of mine," Serena Williams said. "It really feels great. I've really been working hard. I had a lot of injuries, especially in the beginning of the year. Things just weren't looking so up. I just decided to fight and things turned around for me."
Serena Williams has reached the final of the last three Grand Slam tournaments in which she's competed. The 20-year-old was sidelined at the Australian Open in January due to injury.
Saturday's Wimbledon women's final will mark the first since the inaugural championship in 1884 to pit siblings against each other. Britain's Maud Watson defeated sister Lilian Watson in that contest.
On the men's side, top seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia wasted four match points in the third set but worked out a 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 1-6, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over 18th seed Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands.
In a rematch of the Queen's Club grasscourt final in London last month, Hewitt will battle No. 4 Tim Henman of Britain in the semifinal.
Yankees win in the heat
NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- On a steamy Independence Day that featured a scary moment in the third inning, Raul Mondesi hit his first homer for his new team Thursday and doubled home a run to carry the New York Yankees to a 7-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
In the top of the third, Jason McDonald took out Derek Jeter on a hard slide at second base, sending New York's superstar to the ground. The crowd went silent as the Yankees shortstop writhed in pain on the infield dirt.
A five-time All-Star who has helped the Yankees to four World Series titles in six seasons, Jeter left the field on his own power and was diagnosed with a bruised leg and sprained knee. He was day-to-day.
Acquired from Toronto on Monday night, Mondesi hit a solo homer in the second inning and had an RBI double in a two-run sixth that made it 4-1.
That was plenty for Mussina (12-3), who matched Boston's Derek Lowe for the American League lead in victories. The righthander allowed one run and seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Mike Stanton worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh for the Yankees, preserving a 4-1 lead.
Other American League results: Boston 9, Toronto 5; Seattle 2, Minnesota 1; Detroit 6, Chicago 5; Texas 11, Tampa Bay 8; Oakland 3, Kansas City 2; Baltimore 7, Anaheim 2.
Counsell sets personal RBI record
PHOENIX, July 4 (UPI) -- Craig Counsell set a career high for RBI in a season with a two-run single in the third inning Thursday night as the Arizona Diamondbacks rolled to a 6-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Counsell has been in the major leagues since 1997 but has spent most of that time in a reserve role. With injuries to Matt Williams and Jay Bell early this season, Counsell has seen increased playing and is making the most of it.
The 31-year-old third baseman is batting .283 and despite having just one homer, surpassed his previous best RBI total in just 82 games. His two-run single capped a four-run inning and gave him 41 RBI, eclipsing his total of 40 with the Florida Marlins in 1998.
The game was tied at 1-1 when Tony Womack and Quenton McCracken hit consecutive base hits to open the fourth. Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley followed with back-to-back, run-scoring singles for a 3-1 lead.
Mark Grace walked to load the bases with two outs before Counsell bounced a single up the middle to score Gonzalez and Finley for a 5-1 cushion.
Other National League results: Milwaukee 5, Cincinnati 4; Montreal 2, Philadelphia 1; Houston 8, Pittsburgh 6; Florida 9, New York 7; St. Louis 3, Los Angeles 2; Atlanta 5, Chicago 1.
Inkster shares Open lead
HUTCHINSON, Kan., July 5 (UPI) -- Juli Inkster and Laura Diaz, representing different generations of American golf, both shot a 3-under 67 Thursday and tied Australian Shani Waugh for the lead after one round of the U.S. Women's Open.
Inkster, 42, is a former champion of this event, has won six major titles, will celebrate her 20th year on the circuit next season and is a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame. Diaz, 27, is a rising star who won her first event on the tour this year. Waugh is looking for her first victory in a five-year tour career.
They were among a small group of players able to tame the Prairie Dunes Country Club course, a links-style layout that is ranked among the best in the country but which, because of its remote location, is seldom in the spotlight.
Despite relatively calm conditions, far different from the wind and rain that bothered them during practice rounds, only six players were able to break par Thursday. In addition to the three co-leaders, Michele Saiki shot a 2-under 68 while Lorie Kane of Canada and Catriona Matthew of Scotland were tied for fifth at 1-under 69
Karrie Webb, trying to become the first player to win this tournament three straight years, stumbled to a 79. Starting on the back nine, she bogeyed three of the first six holes.
Webb appeared to have survived that poor start when she made the turn in 2-over 37, but beginning at the second she played a four-hole stretch in 6-over, suffering a triple bogey at the par-3 fourth.
Burn extends home unbeaten streak
DALLAS, July 5 (UPI) -- A goal and an assist by forward and captain Jason Kreis led the Dallas Burn to a 2-0 victory Thursday night over the MetroStars.
The Burn stretched their home unbeaten streak to seven games (4
3) and have won the first two meetings against the MetroStars in 2002.
With his three points, Kreis not only moved to the top of the current MLS scoring charts (12 goals, 2 assists) but he also became MLS' all-time leading scorer for the first time in his career. With 215 points, he leapfrogged Kansas City's Preki (212), who did not register a point in the Wizards' match Thursday night.
Other MLS results: New England 4, Columbus 1; Kansas City 2, D.C. United 1; Colorado 3, Chicago 2; Los Angeles 2, San Jose 1.
NASCAR qualifying postponed
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 5 (UPI) -- Thursday's qualifying session for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway was postponed following a four-hour rain delay.
A sudden thunderstorm interrupted qualifying at 3:40 p.m. EDT and race officials called off the session at 7:45 after 41 cars were able to get on the track.
The qualifying was rescheduled for Friday at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
The sun tried to break through shortly before 6:00 p.m., but the muggy conditions kept the track too damp for qualifying to be completed.
Before practice was red-flagged, Michael Waltrip, last year's Daytona 500 winner and Pepsi 400 runner-up, had posted the fastest time of the cars that got on the track.
Rangers sign Richter
NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- In desperate need of a goaltender, the New York Rangers on Thursday signed longtime netminder Mike Richter to a multi-year contract.
Terms of the deal were not specified but reports put the contract at two years for a $8 million. Even though Richter has played only for the Rangers in his 14-year career, they actually signed him away from the Edmonton Oilers, who acquired him just before the re-signing deadline on Sunday night. Edmonton will be compensated with a draft pick.
The 35-year-old Richter was a disappointing 24-26-4 with a 2.95 goals-against average in 2001-02. He has been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons but is the Rangers' all-time leader in games played by a goaltender (653) and wins (296).