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In brief: Williams’ title defense ends on sour note

Serena Williams argues with a line judge over a foot fault call during her match against Kim Clijsters. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Serena Williams argues with a line judge over a foot fault call during her match against Kim Clijsters. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
From Staff And Wire Reports

Tennis: Serena Williams walked toward the line judge, screaming, cursing and shaking a ball in the official’s direction, threatening to “shove it down” her throat.

On match point in the U.S. Open semifinals Saturday night in New York, defending champion Williams was penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct – a bizarre, ugly finish that gave a 6-4, 7-5 upset victory to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters.

The match featured plenty of powerful groundstrokes and lengthy exchanges. No one will remember a single shot that was struck, though, because of the unusual, dramatic way it ended.

With Williams serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, she faulted on her first serve. On the second serve, a line judge called a foot fault, making it a double-fault – a call rarely, if ever, seen at that stage of any match, let alone the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.

That made the score 15-40, putting Clijsters one point from victory.

Instead of stepping to the baseline to serve again, Williams went over and shouted and cursed at the line judge, pointing at her and thrusting the ball toward her.

“If I could, I would take this … ball and shove it down your … throat,” Williams said.

She continued yelling at the line judge, and went back over, shaking her racket in the official’s direction.

Asked in her postmatch news conference what she said to the line judge, Williams wouldn’t say, replying, “What did I say? You didn’t hear?”

Meanwhile, Carolina Wozniacki has moved into her first Grand Slam final, with a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal victory over Yanina Wickmayer.

In men’s play, Rafael Nadal reached the semifinals by finishing a rain-interrupted victory over Fernando Gonzalez.

The No. 3-seeded Nadal beat No. 11 Gonzalez 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-0 in a quarterfinal that began Thursday.

Skinner wins Trucks series race

Auto Racing: Mike Skinner started ninth and won the Copart 200 in a Camping World Trucks Series race at Gateway International Raceway at Madison, Ill., in a race marred by late crashes.

Hamilton takes pole position for Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton of McLaren will start the Italian Grand Prix from the pole position after leading qualifying, and Giancarlo Fisichella will make his Ferrari debut from 14th on the grid.

Kim leads LPGA event by two strokes

Golf: Song-Hee Kim finished with a 3-under-par 68 for a two-shot lead over Angela Stanford at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot her second consecutive 69 and is tied for 11th at 138.

U.S. builds edge at Walker Cup: The United States took an 8-4 lead over Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup behind the strong play of Rickie Fowler. The Americans are trying to win this event a third straight time.

Storm play reserves, beat Silver Stars

Basketball: Shannon Johnson scored 16 points and Janell Burse added 15 to lead the Seattle Storm to a 64-55 road win over the San Antonio Silver Stars.

The Storm (20-14), locked into the second seed and scheduled to face third-seeded Los Angeles in the first round Wednesday, didn’t play four players. Sue Bird (sore neck) was on the bench, while Lauren Jackson (back stress fracture), Katie Gearlds (injured left knee) and Swin Cash (personal reasons) didn’t travel.

U.S. beats China in baseball World Cup

Miscellany: Terry Tiffee hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the United States added six more runs in the eighth to beat China 8-0 and advance to the second round at the World Cup in Regensburg, Germany.

U.S. sprinters shine at World Athletics Final: Tyson Gay beat Asafa Powell in the 100 meters at the World Athletics Final at Thessaloniki, Greece, finishing in 9.88 seconds.

Ohno earns trip to third Olympics: Apolo Anton Ohno earned a trip to his third Olympics, winning the 500 and 1,000 meters at the U.S. short track national championships at Marquette, Mich.

Ohno, J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Travis Jayner and Simon Cho earned spots on the men’s Olympic team.

Gomez settles for silver medal at boxing worlds: Light welterweight Frankie Gomez settled for silver at the world boxing championships in Milan, Italy, losing 8-2 to Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo in the finals and wrapping up a disappointing tournament for the United States.

Swift Temper wins Belmont’s Ruffian Handicap: Swift Temper upset 1-5 favorite Seventh Street by 1 3/4 lengths to win the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap for fillies and mares at Belmont Park in New York, covering the 1 1-16 miles in 1:40.59.

Senators ship unhappy winger Heatley to Sharks: The San Jose Sharks acquired disgruntled winger Dany Heatley from the Ottawa Senators. The Sharks gave up Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round pick.

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