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Rain disruption at the Open
- Nalbandian to meet Federer - Clijsters cruises

New York: Rain halted play for a second time at the US Open on Monday.

The first set of showers stopped play for two and a half hours before sixth seed Jennifer Capriati quickly seized a 4-0 lead over 11th seed Elena Dementieva of Russia.

The American veteran was serving at 40-30 when the rain returned and chased them from the court after only 13 minutes of play at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Japanese 15th seed Ai Sugiyama was warming up with opponent Francesca Schiavone of Italy when the storm forced them back to the locker room.

On Sunday, World No. 1 Kim Clijsters of Belgium defeated 17th seed Meghann Shaughnessy of the US 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarter finals.

Looking for her first Grand Slam title, Clijsters took 73 minutes to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows for the second time. She never faced a break point against Shaughnessy and only lost 13 points on her serve.

The top seed has advanced to the quarter finals without dropping a set and for the loss of 18 games.

Clijsters will now face fifth-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France, who beat Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-2, 6-2.

In men’s action, Argentine David Nalbandian surged past Mark Philippoussis 7-5, 6-7 (10-12), 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.

When Wimbledon runner-up Philippoussis, the Australian 20th seed, seized the second set 12-10 on a stunning tie-break, it appeared the match would turn into a tense battle.

But Philippoussis failed to maintain his intensity and 13th seed Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, closed out the match in three hours 13 minutes.

He meets Swiss second seed Roger Federer who taught New Yorker James Blake a lesson, winning 6-3, 7-6, 6-3.

Nalbandian has a 4-0 win-loss record against Federer and he told reporters: “I’m ready. If Federer comes through his match, it will be tough. But I feel good, I thought I played really well today.”

Indeed, while Nalbandian grew in strength as the contest went on, Philippoussis could not keep up with the high tempo.

“To go out (early) at the US Open is disappointing,” said Philippoussis. “I didn’t feel great out there...it just wasn’t happening for me.”

A restrained Andy Roddick eased into the fourth round with a minimum of fuss, beating Brazilian Flavio Saretta 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

Accused of influencing linesmen with his animated behaviour by Ivan Ljubicic in a charged second-round clash that has escalated into the tournament’s biggest controversy, a strangely subdued Roddick swept past the overwhelmed Saretta in only 87 minutes.

A sun-drenched and vocal centre court crowd attempted to spark the fourth-seeded American into a trademark outburst but Roddick would have none of it, offering little more than a polite wave in recognition for their support at the end of the match.

Roddick heads into the next match with Belgian Xavier Malisse a deserved favourite to win his first Grand Slam.

Earlier on Sunday, a pumped-up Andre Agassi thumped former world No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 racking up his 199th victory in a Grand Slam match to reach the fourth round (as reported in Monday’s Late City edition).

Third seed Lindsay Davenport became the first woman through to the quarters when she struggled past Russian Nadia Petrova 6-0, 6-7(6-8), 6-2.

Davenport will face Paola Suarez in the quarters. The 24th seed from Argentina beat Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 . (reuters)

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