Playing more for the pride than the prize, David Carter handily beat Steve Meister, 6-3, 6-3, to win the $10,000 Toyota/Century 21 Men's Invitational Singles Championship in Annandale yesterday.

Carter won $400 and one ATP point more than Meister. Carter's 10 aces made the difference. "That's the highest I think I've had in my life," the 27-year-old Australian said.

Meister missed 58 percent of his first serves, allowing Carter to sit back on Meister's soft spin second serve and neutralize Meister's fine net play.

"I wish they would increase the (service) box tenfold," Meister grumbled. "My serve really let me down. All I could do was spin and come to net and David would just sit on it and break me."

Carter frequently passed Meister, a strong serve-and-volley player. He got two crucial points past Meister's backhand to break Meister's serve in the fifth game of the first set.

"Steve wants to come to net," Carter said. "He does, however, develop a pattern to his approach. I tried to keep him off balance, off his pattern."

Carter served three aces to go up by 2-1 in the second set and had three more to take a 4-3 lead.

Carter then broke Meister's serve with two passing shots by Meister's forehand to lead, 5-3. Carter closed out the victory with an overhead smash.

"I wanted to win," Meister said, "but there wasn't that extra adrenaline in me. I felt flat."

Indeed, Meister made eight unforced errors and five more off Carter's serve. Because Meister never really found his groove, Carter was thus able to play his game, base line and passing shots, to win the $1,300 prize and finish third overall in this segment of the circuit.

Meister's inability to concentrate may have been exacerbated by a breakfast of cold mushroom and pepperoni pizza. "I was glad to be in the finals, maybe too glad," he said.