Tennis: Moya able to find his feet away from clay

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The Independent Online
THE THIRD seed and defending champion, Carlos Moya of Spain, ended a four-match losing streak with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over New Zealand's Brett Steven in the opening-round of the Hamlet Cup at Jericho, New York. The reigning French Open champion has won only six of 16 matches on hard courts this year, but looked to find some of his lost form.

Moya, who celebrates his 22nd birthday tomorrow, lost to Thomas Johansson in the second round at Indianapolis last week. After the defeat, he decided to ask for a wild card and defend his title. The Russian, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who won the event in 1994 and 1995, had originally been the fifth seed but pulled out of the tournament citing "physical exhaustion."

Russia's Anna Kournikova beat Barbara Schett of Austria 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Pilot Pen International at New Haven, Connecticut. Kournikova, ranked No 14 in the world, broke the serve of Schett six times in eight games. The 17-year old also showed some versatility, winning with strong cross-court forehands, deft drop shots and a serve that touched 109mph.

Amanda Coetzer, of South Africa, lost a 3-0 lead after two quick breaks in the first set against Magui Serna of Spain, but held on to win 7-6, 6-3. Coetzer hit a series of backhand winners, but also was helped by Serna's mistakes. "I think she really gave me a couple," said Coetzer, who won the tie-break after falling behind 4-1.

Mary Joe Fernandez won 11 consecutive games en route to a 3-6, 6-0, 6- 1 victory over eighth-seeded Dominique Van Roost of Belgium. "It was a match where I knew I had to hang in there and fight hard," said Fernandez, who has been recovering after having wrist surgery in December.

Van Roost said: "What can you do when you play somebody like that who doesn't give you a chance to play your game?"