In Sports from United Press International

July 7, 2002 at 12:40 AM
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Serena Williams wins Wimbledon

LONDON, July 7 (UPI) -- Serena Williams, who had already taken the No. 1 ranking from her older sister Venus, Saturday took her Wimbledon crown as well.

In their best match against each other, Serena outslugged Venus, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, in 78 minutes to claim her first singles title at the All England Club.

By reaching the championship match, Serena rose to the top spot on the WTA Tour rankings for the first time and Saturday captured her third Grand Slam tournament. The 1999 U.S. Open champion beat Venus last month at the French Open. She is the first woman to win at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Steffi Graf did it in 1996.

She also became the fourth active woman to claim three of the four majors in her career, joining Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis and Monica Seles.

Venus, the top seed, saw her winning streak at Wimbledon end at 20 matches and lost her third straight match to Serena. She had won their first Grand Slam final meeting last September at the U.S. Open and leads the all-time matchup, 5-4.

In a match suspended from Friday due to rain, No. 28 David Nalbandian of Argentina completed a 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-2 victory over No. 27 Xavier Malisse of Belgium to become the first player in the Open Era to reach the Wimbledon men's final in his tournament debut.

The 20-year-old from Cordoba set up a championship meeting with world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.

Armstrong takes quick lead in Tour de France

LUXEMBOURG, July 7 (UPI) -- Lance Armstrong made an immediate statement in his bid for a fourth straight Tour de France title Saturday, capturing the traditional opening time trial by two seconds over Frenchman Laurent Jalabert.

The first day of the three-week tour is known as the prologue and, just as the name suggests, it provided a taste of what is expected to come.

Armstrong completed the 4.04-mile distance in nine minutes, eight seconds as the 89th edition of the world's most famous cycling got underway. He also won the prologue in 1999 en route to his first of three straight championships.

A victory in the prologue means little in the overall race since the top finishers Saturday were separated by only a few seconds. Once the mountain stages arrive during the second week of the tour, Armstrong will likely put several minutes between himself and his challengers.

But Armstrong wanted to demonstrate to his rivals Saturday that he is ready for this year's ordeal and he did so, powering his way up the final slopes to grab the yellow jersey that goes to the race leader. Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team may not try to protect the lead during the upcoming flat stages, likely saving their energy for the team time trial and the mountain climbs to come.

Michael Waltrip wins Pepsi 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 7 (UPI) -- Michael Waltrip, who was unable to celebrate his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory 18 months ago, won his second one Saturday night by capturing the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Waltrip won the race under caution, although he and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominated the race. Cars owned by Dale Earnhardt Incorporated have won five of the last seven restrictor-plate races on the Winston Cup circuit.

Waltrip's first Winston Cup win also came here at the 2001 Daytona 500, but it was tempered by the death of team owner Dale Earnhardt on the final lap.

With 25 laps remaining Saturday night, Dale Jarrett tried to maintain his track position but crowded Jeff Burton along the apron. The contact set off a 15-car wreck, with Joe Nemechek making the hardest impact with the wall. Brett Bodine's car was destroyed by fire, but both drivers escaped serious injury.

Johnny Benson cracked three ribs in an earlier incident.

Veteran Rusty Wallace posted his best career finish at Daytona by placing second after starting 37th in a Ford Taurus. Wallace challenged late but did not have enough to get past Waltrip.

Winston Cup points leader Sterling Marlin was third in a Dodge Intrepid for his first top-five finish in three races. Teammate Jimmy Spencer was next, Mark Martin was fifth and Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth after trying to make a move on his teammate. Instead, he gave others room to pass.

The 160-lap event finished under caution following an incident with four laps to go. Ryan Newman made contact with Geoffrey Bodine, who had his left rear tire cut in the incident and spun.

Red Sox roll behind Martinez

BOSTON, July 7 (UPI) -- Pedro Martinez gave up just one hit in five dominant innings and Doug Mirabelli belted a three-run homer Saturday as the Boston Red Sox coasted to an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

An All-Star for the fifth time this season, Martinez decided to skip Tuesday's contest so he could be fresh for the second half.

Martinez (11-2), who was given an early cushion to work with, gave up just a third-inning single. The righthander walked one and struck out eight en route to his fourth straight win.

Three relievers combined to allow one hit over the final four innings.

Mirabelli hit his second homer in as many games to cap a five-run first inning off rookie Mike Maroth (1-3).

Maroth was ripped for seven runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Other American League results: Chicago 7, Cleveland 3; Toronto 8, New York 3; Kansas City 4, Oakland 3 in 10 innings; Baltimore 7, Texas 5; Minnesota 7, Seattle 2; Anaheim 4, Tampa Bay 3.

Bonds homers to pace Giants

PHOENIX, July 7 (UPI) -- Barry Bonds homered off Randy Johnson in the sixth inning and J.T. Snow singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth Saturday as the San Francisco Giants halted a three-game slide with a 3-2 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bonds had gone a season-high 33 at bats since his last home run before hitting a solo shot off Johnson to open the scoring. It was Bonds' first career homer off the four-time Cy Young Award winner.

Arizona rallied in the seventh to forge a 2-2 tie, but San Francisco answered in the eighth against the Diamondbacks' bullpen.

Lefthander Mike Myers struck out Bonds, but gave way to Matt Mantei, who had thrown just three pitches in two appearances since coming off the disabled list. Former Diamondback Reggie Sanders reached when shortstop Tony Womack backhanded his ground ball but made an errant throw to first base.

Benito Santiago singled and Snow blooped a single to left field to score Sanders for a 3-2 lead.

Other National League results: Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 2 in 11 innings; Chicago 7, Atlanta 3; Florida 5, New York 2; Montreal 5, Philadelphia 3; Houston 10, Pittsburgh 2; Cincinnati 6, Milwaukee 4; Colorado 3, San Diego 2.

Sorenstam nears Open title

HUTCHINSON, Kan., July 7 (UPI) -- Annika Sorenstam took a giant step toward her third U.S. Women's Open championship Saturday by firing a 1-under 69 that put her two shots in front with one round to play.

Sorenstam, the third player in LPGA Tour history to have won six tournaments in the first six months of the year, survived a lapse early on the back nine to finish 54 holes at 2-under 208.

Tied for second at 210 were Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, who had owned a part of the lead after each of the first two rounds, and Jill McGill, winless in seven years on the LPGA Tour.

Australian Shani Waugh was alone in fourth at 211 while Michele Redman was at 213. Laura Diaz, who began the day tied for the lead with Inkster and Sorenstam and who played in the final group of the day, fell back with a 77 that put her in a tie for 10th place at 216. Also at 216 was Britain's Laura Davies, who shot the day's low round - a 68.

Sorenstam grabbed the lead by playing the front nine at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in 2-under 33. But she bogeyed the 12th and 14th holes to fall back into a tie before running in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 16th to regain the lead.

Both McGill and Inkster bogeyed the final hole to slip two shots off the pace.

Comets win low-scoring contest

HOUSTON, July 7 (UPI) -- Tina Thompson scored 19 points Saturday night as the Houston Comets overcame some poor shooting and extended the WNBA's longest winning streak to nine games with a 60-41 victory over the Detroit Shock.

Thompson hit seven of 19 shots from the floor, but the Comets struggled all night offensively. They shot less than 40 percent and committed 20 turnovers.

But the Shock struggled even more and scored just eight points in the first half to trail by 10. The 26 combined points set a league record for the fewest in a half and Detroit's eight points was its lowest total for 20 minutes.

Houston closed out the first half on a 10-0 run and Sheryl Swoopes made a three-pointer for a 40-28 advantage with 6:45 remaining. They led by double digits the rest of the way.

Other WNBA results: Charlotte 78, Cleveland 67; Orlando 72, Phoenix 70; Indiana 50, Washington 45.

MetroStars win despite losing Mathis

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 7 (UPI) -- The MetroStars erupted for two goals in a five-minute span of the second half Saturday and held on for a 3-2 triumph over the Columbus Crew.

The Metros lost World Cup star Clint Mathis to a right knee injury in the 31st minute and veteran midfielder Tab Ramos 10 minutes later to an apparent hamstring injury.

Midfielder Andy Williams' dribbling skills earned the MetroStars a penalty kick in the 59th minute as defender Daniel Torres was called for grabbing his jersey. Ross Paule scored from the spot for his first goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.

Other MLS results: New England 2, D.C. United 0; Kansas City 1, Dallas 1.

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