Lights fail to bring out best in Chang

He falls in straight sets

Moya retires with injury

US Open

Notebook

September 03, 1999|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- For years, Michael Chang's playground was the late-night match under the lights at the U.S. Open. It was there that he would scrap for every point and rally from almost every deficit.

Six times in his career he has clawed his way back from two sets down for a five-set victory. But last night, there was no magic in the magnetic Chang.

No. 52-ranked Arnaud Clement, a 21-year-old Frenchman, beat him 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Chang's loss left the tournament without still another familiar face.

"I didn't even feel really out of this match until it was almost over," Chang said. "I feel my old intensity is still there. Whether that's something people see or not, it's hard for me to say. I thought he played some good tennis today. He scrambled for good shots, and I had some opportunities I couldn't convert. I always feel when there are a lot of balls being hit, like tonight, that I'm always in the match."

The Open also lost No. 8 seed Carlos Moya yesterday, when he retired with a back injury in the third set of his match against Nicolas Escude.

Moya had received treatment several times and was down 1-6, 4-6, 1-0 when he called it quits.

A semifinalist here a year ago, Moya joined No. 1 seed Pete Sampras (herniated disk), who had been hoping for a record 13th Grand slam victory and two-time defending champion and No. 4 seed Patrick Rafter (rotator cuff) on the outside looking in.

On the women's side, Henrieta Nagyova withdrew with a sprained right wrist after an afternoon practice, handing No. 3 seed Venus Williams a walk-over into the fourth round.

Goldstein bows out

Rockville's Paul Goldstein, who last week reached a career high ranking of 79, lost in the second round, 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 3-6, to No. 57 Jim Kroslak.

"I played a lot of tennis this summer," said Goldstein. "Maybe I wasn't as fresh as I needed to be. I pressed at critical points and made unnecessary mistakes that cost me the match."

Goldstein said that while he was disappointed by the loss, the feeling here wasn't as bad as what he felt after his other Grand Slam losses.

"In those matches, I had put myself in position to win," he said. "I never did that in this match. But I've had a great summer. I played seven or eight weeks and never lost a first-round match all summer. I have a lot of good things to build on."

Agassi's focus tested

No. 2 seed and now tournament favorite Andre Agassi seemed to have an easy time of it against qualifier Axel Pretzsch, rolling into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

But the score didn't tell the whole story.

In the third game of the third set, it appeared he had to win the same game three times.

"It certainly felt that way," said Agassi, who complained, laughed derisively, and at one point pretended he didn't hear Pretzsch's ball called good and went to his chair for the change over, only to have to go back on court and finish the game -- again.

"You kind of relax a little bit, thinking you've won the game," Agassi said. "Then, when you don't, you have to regroup all over again and that's tough. It only takes a point or two to turn a set around."

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