Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 20 News List

No. 1 Roddick aces his way past Moya

AP , HOUSTON, TEXAS

Carlos Moya reaches out for a backhand service return against Andy Roddick during the first round of the Masters Cup Tennis in Houston, Texas on Tuesday.

PHOTO: EPA

Top-ranked Andy Roddick of the US overcame Carlos Moya of Spain 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the Tennis Masters Cup, improving his chances of finishing the year ranked No. 1.

Roddick pounded 14 aces and a total of 27 winners to beat the seventh-ranked Moya in their opening round-robin match Tuesday.

The result eliminated Wimbledon champ Roger Federer of Switzerland, currently No. 3, from contention for the top spot in the ATP Tour computer rankings. Roddick still has to worry, though, about No. 2 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, the man he beat in the US Open final.

Roddick replaced Ferrero at No. 1 last week.

Ferrero meets Andre Agassi on Wednesday in their second round-robin turn, while Federer plays David Nalbandian of Argentina.

Roddick's play plummeted Tuesday after he chastised chair umpire Mike Morrissey for overruling a call in the second set. Other than that lapse, the American was at his best for long stretches. So was Moya, the 1998 French Open champion, who had two more winners than Roddick, and smacked 10 aces.

After losing the opening game of the second set, Roddick faced two break points at 15-40 when he hit a serve he thought was an ace. But as he started walking to the other end of the baseline, Morrissey overruled a line judge and told Roddick it was a fault (a TV replay appeared to show the ball caught the line).

Roddick and Morrissey exchanged words, but at the changeover, Roddick lit into Morrissey again, cursing and saying, "You blew it ... You should keep your trap shut. You get the itch whenever it's a big point."

Roddick got the lone break of the third set in the eighth game. He earned a break point by running forward for a nice backhand volley that Moya hit wide; a forehand error by Moya made it 5-3. Turning to the seats where girlfriend Mandy Moore and coach Brad Gilbert were seated, Roddick pumped his fists and let out, "Come on!"

Roddick then served out the match with the help of an ace and a service winner.

In an earlier match, No. 6 Rainer Schuettler of Germany beat No. 4 Guillermo Coria of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. They combined for 13 double-faults, 84 unforced errors and 28 break points.

But Schuettler, runner-up to Agassi at the Australian Open, did just enough to win his 70th match of the season.

"To be honest with you, it was tough to get a rhythm today," Schuettler said.

The German held a slight edge in winners, 31-24, and had 18 fewer errors.

Coria often clutched his left thigh when there were breaks in play, although he looked just fine during points, using his exceptional quickness to track down shots. After the second set, the Argentine took a medical timeout and had both legs massaged by a trainer.

"I didn't feel well physically and that affected me a lot, because my strength is my speed. I normally don't make that many mistakes," said Coria, who is recovering from a flu.

"When you're playing the best, you need to be at your best."

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