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US Open a wash-out as tropical storm stops day’s play

The storm season continues to interfere with the New York summer. After last week’s close encounter with Hurricane Irene, the tail end of Tropical Storm Lee arrived from the south on Tuesday to drop gallons of water on Flushing Meadows.

Andy Murray's fourth-round match against Donald Young, the young American prospect, was thus held over to Wednesday. Murray will, given a fair wind, be first on at 11am local time (4pm BST). But we said that on Tuesday too.

Crowds of plastic-sheathed spectators trooped miserably off the site when play was abandoned at 1.30pm without a ball having been hit.

The forecast looks damp for Wednesday as well. All of which suggests that the US Open could overrun for the fourth time in as many years, with the final being played on Monday.

The scheduling at this tournament is always a little haphazard, even when the skies are clear, so it is hard to say how much time we can afford to lose.

With day and night sessions, the organisers should theoretically be able to squeeze a lot of action into a short time, once the rain finally stops.

The problem is that television stations tend to kick up a fuss if potentially juicy matches are squeezed on to the smaller courts.

The players will have to hang loose, trying not to use up too much nervous energy while they wait.

Rather as Roger Federer did on Monday night when the women’s match that preceded him, Caroline Wozniacki versus Svetlana Kuznetsova, ran to just over three hours.

Federer finally found himself out on court at midnight, though he did everything in his power to get to bed quickly by walloping Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in 1hr 20min.

Afterwards, he tried to be magnanimous about the disruption to his biorhythms, saying: “It’s happened often to me.” But he could not help making a small cry for understanding, pointing out that “other sports start at eight in the morning, like golf.

"It’s crazy how our schedules change all the time. As tennis players, it makes it extremely difficult to be on your ‘A’ game every single day.

“Something happens tonight,” Federer added. “You see the women’s match, you warm up several times, you wait, maybe have to eat something, you relax again. Your body is also jumping out of your skin because you want to go, then you’re held back again. It’s tough.”

There must have been quite a few fans praying for Wozza and Kuzzy to reach the end of their marathon, so they could see Federer — who remains one of the biggest draws in the sport — before their eyelids started to droop.

But Wozniacki got herself into a right old mess at one set and 4-1 down before her superior fitness began to play a part, and she fought her way through to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 win.

Despite the length of the match, she looked remarkably fresh at the end, saying that she could have played another two or three sets. She even performed an impression of Rafael Nadal’s cramp-ridden collapse when she arrived in the interview room.

“I know I’m in great shape,” Wozniacki said. “I’m working so hard off the court, as well. I know I can be out there for hours and hours. It’s great to know that, and it’s great to know that it doesn’t matter how long the match takes. I mean, I will not lose because I’m not physically well.”

Wozniacki will play Andrea Petkovic, the German best known for celebrating her victories with dance moves, in the quarter-finals.

As for Federer, he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who eliminated home hope Mardy Fish in five sets on Monday night.

The Federer-Tsonga match could be a few days away, but when we get there it will be a rematch of their titanic Wimbledon quarter-final, in which Federer won the first two sets but lost — the only time he has surrendered such a lead in his career.

“I thought we had a great match,” Federer said. “A true grasscourt match; this was first serve, first hit, the point was over so many times on both ends. I live for the big matches, for playing a guy who is explosive.”