BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Carlos Moya remained perfect
at the ATP Buenos Aires claycourt tournament, but just barely.
The second-seeded Moya needed a pair of tiebreakers Thursday to
get past unheralded fellow Spaniard David Sanchez and into the
quarterfinals of the $380,000 event.
The defending champion, Moya came in having never lost in 11
matches in this event, also winning the title in 1995. But the
reigning French Open champion was pushed to the limit by
Sanchez before holding on for a 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (5) win.
The match was highlighted by squandered opportunities. Sanchez
wasted leads of 5-3 in the first set and 5-1 in that set's
tiebreaker, losing six straight points. Moya was broken serving
for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 before needing a second tiebreaker
Moya's quarterfinal foe will be sixth-seeded Mariano Zabaleta of
Argentina, who eased past unseeded Oscar Hernandez of of Spain,
6-1, 6-4. Returning from a three-month absence due to a hip
injury, Zabaleta has yet to lose a set in the tournament but is
just 1-4 all-time vs. Moya.
"I think I improved my attitude on the court and my
concentration as well," Zabaleta said. "If I play like this the
entire year, I think I am going to be a tough player to play
Spain's David Ferrer continued his unlikely run, moving into the
quarterfinals with a 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-2 victory over Flavio
Saretta of Brazil.
Saretta needed trainer's assistance prior to the third set for
lower back problems and twice lost his serve.
Ferrer, who stunned fourth seed Gustavo Kuerten in the first
round, gets another test Friday in hometown favorite Jose
Acasuso. Their meeting assures an unseeded player will reach
After knocking off seventh seed Gaston Gaudio in the first
round, Acasuso rallied for a 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4 victory over
Olivier Patience of France, fighting off five match points in
the second set. He reached the final here three years ago.
"Going into the third set, I knew he was going to be down on
himself," Acasuso said. "It is never easy when you have match
points like that."
The quarterfinals on the top half of the bracket pit top-seeded
Guillermo Coria vs. Juan Monaco in a battle of Argentine doubles
partners and third-seeded Nicolas Massu of Chile vs. Richard
Gasquet of France.
Massu's first career win came in this tournament two years ago.
First prize is $52,000.