Facebook Twitter

Moya hopes dinner with foe leads to victory

SHARE Moya hopes dinner with foe leads to victory

Carlos Moya went out with buddy Felix Mantilla for ice cream before clobbering him in the French Open semifinals.

Now Moya is making dinner plans with another close friend, Alex Corretja, whom he'll face in an all-Spanish men's final on Sunday."Maybe we can have dinner together. That's the most important thing; we're going to be friends even if I win or if he wins," Corretja said. "We have to find our game on the court, and then just enjoy the party."

On a muggy center court Friday, Corretja defeated French hero Cedric Pioline in straight sets to join Moya in the final. Moya won 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 over Mantilla, yet another Spaniard.

It will be the second all-Spanish final in five years at the French Open. Sergi Bruguera defeated Alberto Berasategui for the 1994 title.

"Alex is a close friend of mine," Moya said. "But when you get on the court, you fight like crazy, you run, you do everything, you try to step on him if necessary."

Monica Seles, playing in her first tournament since the death of her father three weeks ago, faces Aranxta Sanchez Vicario in the women's final today.

Seles won the tournament from 1990-92, with her father watching each time from the players' box. This time, she'll be wearing his ring on a chain around her neck.

Seles is 14-2 against Sanchez Vicario, including a 6-3, 6-4 win in the 1991 French Open final. Seles ousted top-seeded Martina Hingis in the semifinals.

Sanchez Vicario, who defeated Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals, won the French Open title in 1989 and 1994.

Neither Venus nor Serena Williams made it past the quarterfinals in singles, but the siblings realized their wish of meeting in a final Friday - in mixed doubles.

Venus teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win 6-4, 6-4 over younger sister Serena and Luis Lobo. It was their second Grand Slam title of the year - they also won at the Australian Open.

The Williams sisters exchanged a perfunctory handshake at the net after the match, then told a TV interviewer - in French - that they plan to meet in the singles final here next year.

Moya, Mantilla and Corretja all live in Barcelona and hang out together on the road. The three went out for ice cream and video games to celebrate after advancing to the semifinals.

They could have used similar refreshment Friday in the 82-degree heat and smothering humidity. But the player who really felt the heat was Pioline.

Pioline, who had hoped to become the first Frenchman to win at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah in 1983, had played three five-setters in reaching the semifinals and appeared drained.

"I felt I did everything a bit slowly. On top of that, you're not as focused when you're tired. You don't make the right decisions," he said. "If you play a five-setter every other day, it really shows."

Corretja took advantage of Pioline's exhaustion to win 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Both players put icepacks on their necks during changeovers in the third set.

Moya mixed powerful groundstrokes with delicate drop shots to throw off Mantilla, who preferred to rally patiently from the baseline. Moya also added 10 aces.