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Roddick in quarters

New York: Fourth-seeded American Andy Roddick used a dominating serve to beat Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) to reach the US Open quarter finals for the third straight year.

Rain returned on Thursday to halt play after just 15 minutes. But the small break in the weather was just enough to allow seventh seed Anastasia Myskina to complete a 7-6, 6-1 win over Mary Pierce in a match that had stretched over four days due to persistent rain delays.

Of the more than 100 matches scheduled for Wednesday, that was the only one completed, making for a grand total of four in the books since Monday. Roddick and Andre Agassi are the only men who have quarter final berths secured. “It was tough conditions out there tonight,” Roddick said.

Just two other matches even got under way on Wednesday, before being postponed. Top-ranked Kim Clijsters of Belgium took a 3-0 lead over No. 5 Amelie Mauresmo of France in less than 15 minutes of play.

No. 12 Sjeng Schalken of The Netherlands led No. 8 Rainer Schuettler of Germany 5-1 after 25 minutes. The winner will play Roddick. “This is a rolling calendar at this point, which is changing by the hour,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s chief executive for professional tennis.

Roddick and Malisse started at 9.15 pm, by which point most players had been told to go to their hotels. They played for 44 minutes before rain forced them to stop with Roddick ahead 6-3, 2-2. When they returned, they played 11 more minutes, enough time for Roddick to break to go ahead 4-3 in the second set.

But on the final point of that game, Roddick slid behind the baseline, putting a hand down to stay upright. Malisse, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2002, threw his racket over to his changeover seat, then tossed a water bottle. Tournament referee Brian Earley walked out to check the court, and action was held up for another seven minutes.

But then, the fourth-round match resumed — and finished. That’s because Roddick served brilliantly. He had fewer aces than Malisse, but with speed and placement was able to get the upper hand. Midway through the third set, Roddick had won 52 of the 56 points on his serve, holding at love in nine of 13 games. Roddick then faced break points trailing 3-4 and 4-5 (Malisse had two set points), but pushed the third into a tie-breaker. The American trailed 3-5 in the tie-breaker but won the final four points.

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