Thursday, August 5, 2004

'Lucky loser' Arthurs advances

Australian not feeling any pressure

By Dustin Dow and Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writers

MASON - Wayne Arthurs truly is a "lucky loser."

The Australian, who lost in qualifying, is making the most of his second chance by advancing to the round of 16 in the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters with a 6-2, 7-6 (6) victory against Mariano Zabaleta.

The term "lucky loser" is applied to a player who fails to qualify but is inserted into the tournament as the highest-seeded non-qualifier after another player withdraws. This is nothing new for Arthurs, who also reached the round of 16 in the Monte Carlo TMS after getting into the tournament as a lucky loser.

His first-round win Monday against No. 16 seed Andrei Pavel was Arthurs' first tour win since Monte Carlo in April.

"It's pretty amazing, isn't it?" said Arthurs, who was the second lucky loser placed in the draw after Gregory Carraz. "I tend to up my game if I'm a lucky loser coming out of the qualifiers. There's no pressure anymore."

Arthurs wasn't ready to leave town after he lost to Wesley Moodie in the second round of qualifying, because he is playing doubles this week with Pau Hanley.

"I'm seeded in the doubles, so I was just hanging around," Arthurs said.

"If I hadn't been playing doubles, I would have been out of here."

Playing in Cincinnati tends to suit Arthurs well. He advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002 after making it through qualifying.

"I find it very relaxing here," Arthurs said.

"I enjoy the heat. Sometimes it gets a little hot, but I generally play better in these warmer conditions."

MOYA FINDS WIN NOT HARD: Aside from his 2002 tournament win, Carlos Moya advanced the farthest he ever has in Cincinnati on Wednesday, beating Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to get to the round of 16. It was the third consecutive meeting Moya has downed Ljubicic, but his first win against him on a hard court.

Ljubicic beat Moya twice on hard courts, the last time in 2001 in Cincinnati. The players' series is tied 3-3.

"I didn't know what to expect when I got to the court," Moya said. "First games, he was serving aces all the time. I was holding my serve. And then after five, six games, you start to get there and to play some long rallies and to get the rhythm. Then I have to admit, I played better than I expected."

RAIN DELAYS: Rain delays interrupted tournament play Wednesday. The first delay lasted four hours and kept workers trying to dry the court sporadically busy. The rain began before play started and went until 3 p.m.

"It looked like we had the doomsday cloud come over before it started," said Greg Rusedski, who was waiting to play Wednesday's opening match on the Grandstand court.

"One minute it was raining really hard and then we were on in 30 minutes, so it was a hard preparation today."

The second came at 8:20 p.m. and lasted until just after 9 p.m., when Andre Agassi and Thomas Johansson took Center Court to begin the last match of the day, an hour and a half behind schedule.

Three doubles matches are today because of the delays - No. 4 Michael Llodra-Fabrice Santoro vs. Rainer Schuettler-Mikhail Youzhny, Dominik Hrbaty-Andrei Pavel vs. No. 3 Mark Knowles-Daniel Nestor, and Jonathan Erlich-Andy Ram vs. Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan.

The revised schedule was not available at press time.

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