KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- On a sultry afternoon in the subtropics, Serena Williams sat under an umbrella and sipped a refreshment.
A day at the beach? Almost. When play resumed, Williams made the world's top-ranked woman look like a beginner, beating nemesis Justine Henin 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.
Williams won the final 10 games Tuesday by playing nearly flawless tennis, while Henin unraveled after she double-faulted three times to fall behind 4-2.
"It wasn't easy," Williams said. "It was just the fact of me making the right shots at the right time."
A few hours later, Svetlana Kuznetsova prevented an all-Williams semifinal. Kuznetsova, the 2006 Key Biscayne champ, topped three-time champ Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4, who was hurt by eight double faults and converted just one of six break points.
No. 6-seeded Andy Roddick rallied past Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-3,6-2 to earn another shot at Roger Federer in the men's quarterfinals Thursday.
"Is that who I play?" Roddick said facetiously. He's 1-15 against Federer and has lost their past 11 meetings.
The top-ranked Federer beat Jose Acasuso 7-6 (6), 6-2. No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal swept No. 16 Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4. No. 9 seed James Blake wobbled at the finish but beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4. ...
Australian Open champ and No. 5-ranked Maria Sharapova won't play for Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals against the U.S. April 26-27 in Moscow as No. 4-ranked Kuznetsova takes her turn on the team.
NFL owners approved a communication device for defenses Tuesday. One defensive player will wear a helmet similar to what the quarterback is allowed on offense. Should that player leave the game, a teammate can be designated to also have the device. But only one defender with the device can be on the field at a time.
"We want to safeguard against a situation with two players on the field at the same time with the helmet communication," said Atlanta Falcons president and competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay.
The vote was 25-7 in favor -- 24 yes votes were required. All seven negatives came from head coaches with offensive backgrounds, including Lane Kiffin of Oakland.
The owners tabled discussion of a rule banning a player's hair from flowing over the nameplate and number on the back of the uniform.
Fresno State will open the 2008 season with a Labor Day game at Rutgers after Kansas State decided to cancel the final game in a three-game series with the Bulldogs. Fresno State will take on the Scarlet Knights in a nationally televised game on ESPN on Sept. 1. It marks Fresno State's first game ever against a Big East team.
Fresno had been scheduled to open the season at UCLA -- that game will be played at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 27. Fresno's home opener will be Sept. 13 against Wisconsin.
Rutgers, coming off consecutive seasons with a bowl victory, will pay back the Bulldogs by opening the 2012 season in Fresno. ...
Tennessee and UCLA agreed to play at Pasadena's Rose Bowl on Sept. 1 in a 5 p.m. Monday night Labor Day game to be shown on ESPN. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 6.
Richard Childress Racing will expand to four cars next season with General Mills as sponsor. That leaves Petty Enterprises searching for financial backing for its famed No. 43.
General Mills has sponsored the No. 43 the past nine seasons, taking over when STP gave up its role as primary sponsor of the car Richard Petty drove to 200 victories. Bobby Labonte currently pilots the flagship Dodge. The car will need a sponsor for 2009, but Petty Enterprises thinks its secure with its driver.
New England Revolution and United States forward Taylor Twellman has torn cartilage in his right knee and is expected to miss at least six weeks. Twellman is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery today to repair the medial meniscus.
Track and Field
Olympic 100-meter champ Justin Gatlin will have his appeal of a four-year doping ban heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on May 28-29.