Wins for Moya, Hewitt, Federer at Shanghai

Carlo Moya, Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer advance on day one of the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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World number one Lleyton Hewitt struggled for form before defeating French Open champion Albert Costa of Spain 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in his first round robin group match at the Masters Cup in Shanghai on Tuesday. In the opening match of the tournament, Carlos Moya of Spain upset Russian Marat Safin 6-4 7-5, while Roger Federer of Switzerland completed the day's play with a 6-3, 6-4 win over another Spaniard, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Hewitt is attempting to become the first player to win consecutive season-ending championships since Pete Sampras won in 1996 and 1997. Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi headed the field as the world's best players took to the court on Tuesday for the end-of-season Masters Cup in Shanghai. The top seven players in the ATP Champions Race, plus the best-placed Grand Slam champion outside the top eight, are drawn in two groups. In the opening game in the Red Group at the New Shanghai International Expo Centre, Marat Safin met Spain's Carlos Moya, who withstood an early barrage of Russian power before taking the opening set 6-4 in 48 minutes. Moya broke again in the ninth game of the second set, but this time Safin came back, breaking to love to level. He could not hold his serve to consolidate, though, and a game later Moya served out for 6-4 7-5 victory in 98 minutes. World number one Lleyton Hewitt took on Albert Costa in the other Red Group game of the day with the 21-year-old Australian holding 88-point gap over Agassi, who plays Jiri Novak in the tournament on Wednesday. Agassi is the only player who can take Hewitt's crown this year. The Wimbledon and US Open champion won the first four games of the match and soon had the first set under his belt at six games to two. But the Australian lost his edge in the second set as the French Open champion, who has not won an indoors match in more than a year, won the first three games of the second set and went on to level the match at one set each. Hewitt moved up a gear and broke Costa at the start of the final set. He broke again in the ninth top emerge a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victor. Hewitt's victory earned him 20 ranking points and he is now 108 points ahead of Agassi. There are 150 points available for an unbeaten champion. In the day's only match in the Gold Group, Juan Carlos Ferrero opened up against Roger Federer and the Swiss fourth seed started well, claiming the first break of the match as early as the fourth game and going on to take the first set 6-3. The second set was much closer, but Federer clinched the decisive break in the ninth game before holding serve to go top of the Gold Group with a 6-3, 6-4 win. The tournament is played in a round-robin format with the top two players in each group going through to the semi-finals of the US$3.7 million event, the richest held in China. (AP)