Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Moya drops by, drops 1st match again

No. 10 out in just 58 minutes

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Carlos Moya begins to feel the pressure against Cedric Pioline.
(Saed Hindash photo)
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        MASON — In the past 15 months, Carlos Moya has won a French Open title and held the No. 1 ranking in the world. And also, apparently, played tennis here.

        Moya vanished from the Great American Insurance ATP field Monday night in a 6-4, 6-1 first-round loss to Cedric Pioline. That neatly matched last year's immediate 6-4, 6-2 loss to qualifier Jerome Golmard.

        Career ATP totals: two matches, two losses, 1:58 elapsed time.

        “The last month, I didn't play hard,” Moya said. “It's time to wake up.”

        Moya's sleep walk Monday lasted only 58 minutes. Serving at 4-5 in the first set, Moya saved two set points before buckling, then butchered the second set.

        “Getting the break at 5-4 was important mentally,” Pioline said. “He started missing his shots after that. It was easier.”

Cedric Pioline returns a shot with a back hand against Carlos Moya.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |
        Moya, a 22-year-old Spaniard, has sunk from No. 1 to 10 in four months. He admits letting up upon reaching the top spot in mid-March. Though he calls this hard-court season his favorite time of year, the slump continues.

        “Maybe I kind of relaxed a bit after I achieved that (No. 1) goal,” he said. “I took it easy for a while. Now it's tougher for me to win matches.”

        The 10th-seeded Moya is the first seed gone. Pioline, ranked 26th, will next play the winner of the Jim Courier-Goran Ivanisevic match. Pioline has an 8-7 career record here, though he has never advanced past the round of 16.

        Pioline, a 30-year-old from France, can relate to Moya's misfortunes. In 1993, Pioline reached the U.S. Open final and finished the year ranked No. 10, but his ranking slipped into the mid-50s the next two years. He reached the Wimbledon finals in 1997 but has yet to regain that height.

        “When it's happening the first time, you don't realize how hard you'll have to work to stay at that level,” Pioline said.

        Pioline won a tournament in Nottingham, England, in June and reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, compiling a career-best nine-match winning streak.

        “It's confidence,” he said.


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