Andy Roddick overcame a second-set tantrum with some spectacular serving and shotmaking to get past Carlos Moya 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Tuesday night at the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston, improving his chances of finishing the year ranked No. 1.
Roddick, who flew into town after the other entrants because he hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, pounded 14 aces at up to 137 mph and had 27 winners to beat the seventh-ranked Moya in their opening round-robin match.
The result eliminated Wimbledon champ Roger Federer from contention for the top spot in the ATP Tour computer rankings. Roddick still has to worry about No. 2 Juan Carlos Ferrero, whom he beat in the U.S. Open final. Roddick replaced Ferrero at No. 1.
Ferrero meets Andre Agassi today in their second round-robin turn. Federer plays David Nalbandian.
Roddick's play plummeted 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 actually had two more winners than Roddick and smacked 10 aces.
In a match of much lower quality earlier in the day, No. 6 Rainer Schuettler beat No. 4 Guillermo Coria 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. They combined for 13 double faults, 84 unforced errors and 28 break points.
SHORTENED TOUR: The women's pro tennis tour is in talks to shorten its 11-month schedule by a week in 2006 and two in 2007 in response to years of complaints about the season being too long.
TRACK AND FIELD: Marathons reject ranking
LONDON - Four of the world's top marathons will not participate in a world-ranking system proposed by the main sponsor of the New York City Marathon. Directors of the London, Chicago, Boston and Berlin races said the plan devised by Netherlands bank ING would create problems with sponsors. Race directors also said the company did not consult them.
OLYMPICS: Cuba blanks Canada
Ediel Palma pitched eight shutout innings and Cuba beat Canada 5-0 late Monday in Panama City, Panama, in the championship game of their qualifying tournament. By reaching the final, both teams already had qualified for the 2004 Athens Games.
STEROID SCANDAL: IOC president Jacques Rogge said he had a "gut feeling" the use of the designer steroid THG was not widespread. "I have this gut feeling, but it's only a gut feeling, that it's only a very localized issue," Rogge said.
SOCCER: Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson announced that the English Premier League champion will play three preseason games in the United States next summer. Two will be at Giants Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field. Foxboro, Mass.; Philadelphia; and Washington are the top contenders for the third.
HORSES: Thirteen Kentucky Derby jockeys have filed suit against the Kentucky Racing Commission for fining them $500 apiece because they wore Jockeys' Guild patches on their right pant legs during the Derby on May 3. The riders wore the patch to draw attention to disabled colleagues.
SAILING: Tom Brown of Maine leads the 2.4 Meter Class of the Disabled Olympic Trials with a perfect record. In the Sonar class, John Ross-Duggan of California is one point ahead of Paul Callahan of Massachusetts. Racing continues at St. Petersburg through Friday. Mark Mendelblatt of St. Petersburg leads the Laser Olympic Trials, followed by Zach Railey of Clearwater and Brad Funk of Largo. Allison Jolly and Susan Reischmann are in fifth place in the women's 470 Trials.