FLU SCRATCHES SERENA: Serena Williams withdrew from Wimbledon today because of flu and high fever.The withdrawal leaves the tournament without one of its marquee players and ends the possibility of an expected showdown with sister Venus in the fourth round.
"She's got a terrible case of the flu," Serena's father, Richard Williams, said in a statement faxed to the WTA Tour. "I took her to the doctor this morning and he told her it was best to rest and take it easy."
Serena Williams was to have been seeded 10th when the two-week tournament opens Monday. She will be replaced by Russia's Anna Kournikova, the highest-ranked player not to receive a position in the top 16 when seedings were released earlier this week.
Kournikova will take Williams' place in the draw but will designated the 17th-seeded player.
KOURNIKOVA WINS: Anna Kournikova stayed on course for her return next week to Wimbledon, beating France's Nathalie Dechy in the quarterfinals Thursday at Eastbourne.
Kournikova, who won 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), will face third-seeded Nathalie Tauziat, runner-up at Wimbledon a year ago. She lost the first seven games, then came back to beat Russia's Elena Likhovtseva 0-6, 6-2, 6-1.
KRAJICEK ADVANCES: Dutchman Richard Krajicek, the 1997 champion, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Heineken Trophy Thursday, beating Italy's Vincenzo Santopadre 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).
Krajicek will face fifth-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany Friday. Haas beat Daniel Vacek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.
Defending champion Patrick Rafter of Australia also will face Dane Kenneth Carlsen Friday.
In women's play, American Kristina Brandi upset second-seeded Dominique van Roost of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals. Brandi will face Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Belgium's Laurence Courtois.
In the other quarterfinals, Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands beat compatriot Kristie Boogert 6-4, 6-3, and Croatia's Silvija Talaja defeated Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
FREEZZ ADD PLAYERS: The Utah Freezz signed three more players, including defender Wes Sechrist, who won an EISL title with Freezz head coach Dave Poggi in Lafayette in 1998..
Sechrist, who also has two NPSL championships to his credit, was one of the players allocated to the Freezz by the league.
Also joining the Freezz are local players Jake Atkin and Brian Alba, who were signed after tryouts.
CELEBRITY SOFTBALL: The Mad Dogs will meet the Wild Cats in the first-ever Human Society of Utah celebrity softball game at Salt Lake Community College, 4600 S. Redwood Road, on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Teams will be made up of local sports figures and media personalities including U. football coach Ron McBride, Ron Boone and Ruth Todd and Kent Norton. Admission is $3 per person for adults and $1 for kids 12 years and younger.
PEBBLE BEACH SOLD: A group that includes Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood and Peter Ueberroth agreed to buy the Pebble Beach golf course in California for $820 million.
Ueberroth, a former baseball commissioner, put together the group, which also includes former United Airlines chief executive Richard Ferris and General Electric Pensions. The group became the fourth owner of the Pebble Beach Co. this decade.
COWBOYS AGREE WITH DION: Despite salary-cap problems and Deion Sanders' nagging toe injury, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has agreed on a contract extension for the All-Pro cornerback.
Jones initially announced Thursday that it was a three-year deal. But Jones later said he misspoke about the time frame, according to Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple.
"The tentative agreement has been reached, although the contract has not been signed and the length of the agreement will not be released," Jones later said.
Jones wouldn't say how much the extension is worth, but he conceded that the decision is a calculated risk.
RAIDERS WAIVE SHULER: Quarterback Heath Shuler, a college star who has had little success in the NFL, has been waived by the Oakland Raiders -- his second team in less than four months.
The Raiders cut Shuler on Thursday on the eve of a three-day minicamp. Shuler was cut by the New Orleans Saints in late February and signed by the Raiders as a free agent.
Shuler, who did not play last season because of a torn toe ligament, has been hobbled since crushing bones in his left foot in a game at Oakland on Nov. 9, 1997. He started nine games for the Saints in 1997, passing for 1,288 yards but throwing just two touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.