Despite his lofty, No. 3 seeding, not even Carlos Moya seemed all that surprised Saturday to be knocked out of the U.S. Open in the third round.
He never acted like much of a favorite, narrowly escaping the first two rounds and publicly doubting that he had a chance to win the tournament. His brief Open run ended on a low note: He double-faulted on match point against Olivier Rochus, losing, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 7-5.
"My matches here were not good," Moya said. "It was nothing special all tournament. I didn't play so well here, and I never felt too comfortable."
He looked downright shaky serving at 5-6 in the final set. With a chance to force a tiebreaker, Moya fell down 30-40. Then, facing a match point, he crumbled, serving both balls into the net.
"Probably I was nervous," Moya said. "I wasn't serving well. But I cannot do anything now. I mean, I hit a bad serve and I lost. Now I can just try not to think about it. Bigger things have happened."
Not for Rochus, the 100th-ranked player in the world. He had never won a match at the U.S. Open before this year. At 5 feet 5, he's the shortest player in the draw, and he's often disrespected. Sometimes, he said, people mistake him for a ball boy. His victory news conference Saturday was cut short because women's player Maria Sharapova, the Wimbledon champion, did not want to wait to use the room.
Rochus merits considerably more attention. With speed and excellent footwork, he can return almost anything. Twice Moya smacked a hard forehand and turned away thinking he had ended the point with a winner. Both times, Rochus slapped the ball back and won the point.
"That was my best match ever," he said. "The crowd, the atmosphere, it was all perfect. I will never forget it. When I saw his serve hit the net, I couldn't believe it. This match, it just made me so happy."
Easy for Agassi, Federer
Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, two of the favorites, both made seeded opponents look like pushovers Saturday. Federer, the No. 1 seed, pummeled No. 31 Fabrice Santoro, 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).
Sixth-seeded Agassi advanced to the fourth round just as easily, beating No. 25 Jiri Novak, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
"It's just about keeping your focus," Federer said. "You take it one match at a time, and pretty soon you're in the final stages of the tournament. After winning three matches, you start to feel comfortable. You start to think about winning." . . .
Fifteenth-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan lost to Dominik Hrbaty. Srichaphan has been ranked in the top 15 in the world since 2002, but he's never made it past the fourth round of a grand slam.
"It's hard to keep the concentration for two weeks," he said. "I don't think I get through that yet. When I am getting to the third round, I feel like, you know, it's taken a week already. It's hard to focus." . . .
After winning his second-round match in 5 hours 11 minutes -- the second-longest match time in U.S. Open history -- Sargis Sargsian played for 4 hours 40 minutes, fighting off two match points to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu. It's the longest two consecutive matches for any player in tennis history.