TWINS STAY PUT: The Minnesota Twins finally settled their differences with their landlord and signed a new two-year lease Friday.

The lease guarantees that the Twins will remain in Minnesota at least through the 2000 season. There are three one-year options that could extend it through 2003.


FOX DELAYS TV DECISION: Fox Sports was expected to delay announcing a decision on whether to match the Walt Disney Co.'s $600 million bid for the rights to the NHL, setting up a possible legal fight between the league and two media conglomerates.

Fox had a midnight Friday deadline to decide whether to match ABC Sports' $250 million portion of the bid or lose the rights to the NHL after the 1998-99 season.

FLYERS SIGN BRIND'AMOUR: Restricted free agent center Rod Brind'Amour re-signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, agreeing to a three-year, $11.25 million deal just before a scheduled arbitration hearing.


ATP CHAMPIONSHIP: Pete Sampras breezed past upstart Vince Spadea 6-3, 6-2 on Friday in the ATP Championship to advance to Saturday's semifinals of the $2.45 million tournament in Mason, Ohio.

Earlier Friday, Australian Patrick Rafter reeled off three consecutive points, the first two on service breaks, to beat Petr Korda in a second-set tiebreaker and move into the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) victory.

The fifth-seeded Rafter, who is ranked No. 3 in the world and is the reigning U.S. Open champion, will meet Russia's Yevgeny Kafel-ni-kov in one of Saturday's semi-final matches.

ACURA CLASSIC: Martina Hingis, motivated by some brash words from Richard Williams, beat Serena Williams 6-4, 6-1 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Acura Classic at Manhattan Beach, Calif.

The world's No. 1 player saw Richard Williams, the father and coach of teen sensations Venus and Serena, on television Tuesday night saying how he wanted Hingis and Serena to play here.

"I think Serena would kick her butt going and coming," the elder Williams said.

"I don't think she did it," the 17-year-old Swiss player said after advancing to Saturday's semifinals against No. 3 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at Manhattan Country Club.

Sanchez Vicario ended the dream run of Elena Tatarkova of Ukraine with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Tatarkova, ranked 63rd in the world, got into the main draw as a lucky loser when Mary Pierce withdrew because of injury.

Second-seeded Lindsay Davenport, winner of two straight tournaments in California, defeated No. 8 seed Natasha Zvereva 6-2, 6-3 in a 55-minute night match. She'll meet fourth-seeded Monica Seles in the other semifinal. Seles advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 5 Nathalie Tauziat on Thursday.


NO U.S. COACH YET: While Bruce Arena has emerged as a top contender to become coach of the U.S. national team, the U.S. Soccer Federation said it still hadn't made a decision.

USA Today reported Friday a decision had been made to hire Arena, who led Virginia to five NCAA titles and then took D.C. United to the first two championships in Major League Soccer. The Washington Post said Arena had become a leading contender.

Auto racing

TEXACO-HAVOLINE 200: With 19 racers breaking the track record, Gil de Ferran turned in the fastest lap in provisional qualifying Friday for the Texaco-Havoline 200 at Elkhart Lake, Wis.

The Brazilian driver, who hasn't won since July 1996, turned in a record lap of 145.055 mph on the 4-mile, 14-turn road course to take the provisional pole for Sunday's race.

Everybody will have another chance on Saturday to better their position in the final round of time trials.

LATON INJURED: NASCAR driver Gary Laton's condition was upgraded from serious to fair Friday following a wreck at Michigan Speedway.

Laton sustained head and neck injuries after he wrecked his car during qualifying for a Busch Grand National race Thursday.

HUNGARIAN GP: David Coul-thard led McLaren-Mercedes teammate Mika Hakkinen in free practice Friday for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Michael Schu-macher close behind in his Fer-rari.

Schumacher, who trails Hakkinen by 16 points in the Formula One drivers' standings, needs to win Sunday's 77-lap race to have any hopes of overtaking the Finn by the end of the season.

RADISSON 200: Mark Dismore, blinking in disbelief at the results, ran the fastest laps Friday in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions for the Indy Racing League's Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Dismore, a non-winner on the IRL circuit who has been plagued by bad luck this season, posted an unofficial record on the 2-year-old, 1-mile track in Fountain, Colo., of 176.922 mph in the morning practice. Then he bettered it in the afternoon, clocking a 178.386 in a Oldsmobile-powered Dallara.

PEPSI 400: Ernie Irvan took advantage of a slightly cooler track near the end of a 46-car qualifying session for the Pepsi 400 to win his first-ever pole Friday at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

Starting beside him Sunday - also in a Pontiac - will be Bobby Labonte, whose speed held up until Irvan went 183.416 mph for his second pole this season.

Jeff Gordon, the current Winston Cup points leader who holds the track qualifying record of 186.611 mph, will start on the inside of Row 2 after a run of 183.341 mph.


T-BIRDS' TRYOUTS: Tryouts for the Utah Thunderbirds 16 and under fast-pitch team are scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Redwood Road Complex, 3100 S. Redwood Road. For more information, call Mikki Jackson, 280-5858.


THOMPSON WINS 20TH TITLE: Jenny Thompson claimed her 20th individual national title Friday night, winning the 100-meter butterfly in the U.S. Swimming Championships at Fresno, Calif.

Thompson is the 16th swimmer to win 20 national titles in a career. She won the 100 freestyle earlier this week and will swim the 50 freestyle on Saturday.