Luna Rossa defeated BMW Oracle Racing and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-nine Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals yesterday in sailing off the coast of Valencia, Spain.

Desafio Espanol won the pre-start for the first time in three races against Emirates Team New Zealand and held on to win its first race. The Kiwis were penalized for jibbing too closely before the boats started on a split.

Luna Rossa had lost to BMW Oracle at the finish line in the second flight on Tuesday.

The semifinal winners will meet from June 1 to June 11 for the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Auto racing

Veteran driver

Jimmy Kite

spun in the first turn and hit the outside wall during practice for the Indianapolis 500, to be held May 27. He was not injured and was cleared to drive after a mandatory checkup at the infield hospital.

Ryan Newman's pit crew launched NASCAR's all-star-week activities by winning the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., beating Bobby Labonte's team in the final round. Newman's seven-member crew changed four tires, filled the car with gas, and pushed it 40 yards in 24.66 seconds.

Elsewhere: John Andretti, who has spent the last dozen years in NASCAR, joined Panther Racing for the Indy 500.

Golf

Michelle Wie

will celebrate her 18th birthday this fall by playing in the Samsung World Championship for the fourth consecutive year, joining the 20-player field at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., where she made her professional debut.

The PGA Tour's Barclays tournament will be played at the recently completed Liberty National course in Jersey City in 2009, PGA Tour spokeswoman Laura Neal said.

The tournament has been played at Westchester Country Club in New York since 1967.

Elsewhere: Greg Norman has withdrawn from next week's Senior PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, S.C., for personal reasons, officials said.

Soccer

Sevilla became only the second team to successfully defend a UEFA Cup title, beating Espanyol, 3-1, in a shoot-out in Glasgow, Scotland. Regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time ended in a 2-2 tie.

Real Madrid is the other club to have won consecutive UEFA Cup titles, taking the 1985 and 1986 championships.

Elsewhere: Italy consolidated its place as the world's top-ranked soccer team and Brazil moved up to second in the FIFA rankings. The United States remained 29th.

Tennis

Rafael Nadal

extended his record winning streak on clay to 78 matches by beating

Oscar Hernandez

, 7-5, 6-1, to reach the third round of the Hamburg Masters in Germany.

Elsewhere: Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo was upset by 29th-ranked Samantha Stosur, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (7), in the Italian Open in Rome. . . . Mario Ancic pulled out of the French Open because he is recovering from mononucleosis.

Olympics

The International Olympic Committee launched the bidding process for the 2016 Games, inviting the world's 203 national Olympic committees to submit candidate cities.

Chicago, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have been endorsed by their national committees as 2016 candidates.

Elsewhere: Jean Saubert, 65, who won two skiing medals for the United States at the 1964 Olympics, died of breast cancer Monday in Big Fork, Mont., the Johnson Mortuary of Kalispell said.

Noteworthy

At a strip mall in suburban Atlanta,

Bill Hargrove

became the oldest league bowler in U.S. history. Leading off for "Bill's Bunch," he knocked down nine pins with his first throw and averaged 93 in the three-game match. Hargrove turned 106 last week.

Danilo Di Luca won the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia to reclaim the leader's pink jersey from Liquigas teammate Enrico Gasparotto.

Di Luca had a time of 4 hours, 22 minutes and 42 seconds in Montevergine di Mercogliano.

Winthrop basketball player DeAndre Adams died four days after suffering head injuries in a car accident in Austell, Ga.. The 20-year-old guard had been in a coma since Saturday.

Glen Johnson stopped Montell Griffin in the 11th round of a title-fight eliminator between former light-heavyweight champions in Hollywood, Fla.

The victory made Johnson the mandatory challenger to the International Boxing Federation title held by Clinton Woods.