KEY BISCAYNE - Resplendent rather than rusty, Serena Williams looked like a costumed superhero and played pretty well, too. She unveiled a sleek white-and-silver outfit, smacked aces, pumped her fist and won in 42 minutes.
"Hollywood glam," Williams said of her outfit.
Williams ended an eight-month layoff by easily advancing at the Nasdaq-100 Open with a 6-1, 6-0 victory Friday over qualifier Marta Marrero. The match was the first for Williams since beating older sister Venus to win Wimbledon in July. She had been out since knee surgery Aug.1.
Also, No.4 seed Jennifer Capriati of Wesley Chapel beat Klara Koukalova 6-0, 6-1 and No.6 Ai Sugiyama lost to Maria Vento-Kabchi 6-1, 7-5.
On the men's side, No.16 Mardy Fish of Tampa was the first seed ousted, losing to qualifier Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4. Rain postponed No. 1-ranked Roger Federer's match against Nikolay Davydenko until today. Recurring shoulder trouble forced Goran Ivanisevic out of the tournament.
JURISPRUDENCE: Sprinter's suit tossed
A lawsuit by sprinter Jerome Young against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field was dismissed. USATF was dismissed from the case March 17 and the USOC on Monday, court records show. Young tested positive for a steroid in 1999, was cleared on appeal and won a gold medal on the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team at the 2000 Olympics. The sport's world governing body ruled last month that U.S. officials were wrong to clear Young. Young sued after the USATF agreed to provide the USOC with the complete appeals opinion in his case.
BALCO TRIAL: Prosecutors want the trial of four men accused of distributing steroids to athletes to begin in May, but defense attorneys told a judge they'll need months just to figure out which pretrial requests to file in the complex case.
EQUESTRIAN: Welles, Octavius win
Jeffrey Welles, riding Octavius, won the $5,000 Acorn Hill Farm Challenge at the Tampa Bay Classic in Tampa. Welles and Octavius covered the course in 1 minute, 7.445 seconds with no faults. Seven-time Olympian Ian Miller, aboard Sweet Dreams, finished second, three seconds behind the winner. Also, Leigh Healey aboard Laurin won the junior jumper category.
SWIMMING: World-record holder Ian Thorpe lost a chance to defend his 400-meter freestyle title in the Athens Olympics after being disqualified in the Australian trials. Thorpe fell off the starting blocks on the first day of the eight-day trials. He said a noise disrupted his concentration.
OLYMPICS: The U.S. women's field hockey team beat Ireland 2-1 in qualifying in Auckland, New Zealand, setting up a game today with South Korea for the final spot in Athens.
FOOTBALL: St. Petersburg Sharks running back Charles McKinnon, a Boca Ciega graduate, was named national player of the week by Minor League Football News.
BOXING: Israel Vasquez stopped Jose Luis Valbuena in the 12th round late Thursday to win the vacant IBF super-bantamweight title in Los Angeles.
OBITUARIES: Matthew Gribble, an Olympic swimmer and University of Miami All-American who once held the world record in the 100-meter butterfly, died Sunday in a car crash. He was 41. His 31/2-year-old son, Trahern, who also was in the crash, was listed in stable condition at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital. ... Leonard Lewin, a sports writer who wrote five books with former Knicks coach Red Holzman, died Monday in Tampa. He was 87.