Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Rain gives top seed a rest

WEATHER BEATEN Andy Murray earned an extra day to recuperate after bad weather stopped play, with rain also causing a halt to matches in the Swiss Open at Gstaad


Groundstaff step onto a court cover as rain interrupts the match between Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during the Swiss Open tennis tournament in Gstaad on Wednesday.


Top seeded Scot Andy Murray will get some extra rest at the ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

Murray did not begin his second-round match against the US' Sam Querrey before play was called because of rain on Wednesday at the US$380,000 grasscourt event at Newport Casino.

No top seed ever has won the event in its 30-year history, and the 19-year-old Murray nearly became the latest victim of the "Curse of the Casino" on Tuesday, when he had to save five match points in a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Brazilian Ricardo Mello.

The victor of the Murray-Querrey match will face US wild card Robert Kendrick in the quarter-finals.

Kendrick, who blew a two-sets lead against Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon, followed up his upset of fifth seed Vincent Spadea with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Russian Igor Kunitsyn on Wednesday.

Kendrick's was just one of three matches completed Wednesday because of the rain.

In other results, No. 6 Jurgen Melzer of Austria outlasted Canadian Frank Dancevic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, and Australian Mark Philippoussis posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over South African Rik De Voest.

Philippoussis, whose match was interrupted for more than an hour after he jumped out to a 4-2 lead, will face either seventh-seeded American Mardy Fish or Brazilian Thiago Alves in the round of eight.

Third-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Daniele Bracciali of Italy 6-3, 6-1 and the rain in the second round of the Swiss Open on Wednesday.

Verdasco took only 52 minutes, and saved all three break points he faced. The Spaniard was at a career-high 24th ranking this week after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.

In the quarter-finals, he will meet Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who completed the only other match on Wednesday, ousting former two-time champion Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

Kohlschreiber took advantage of a rain delay at 4-4 in the second set to rally, and after the pair was forced off Roy Emerson Arena again by rain at a set apiece, the German sped through the last set to reach his fifth quarter-finals of the year.

"At the beginning [of the match] I was a little bit nervous, too tight, and then the rain delay [at 4-4] helped to loosen me up a little up and after that I played really great," Kohlschreiber said.

Top-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia and wild card Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland were due to return yesterday to play their second-round match, as will the all-Spanish clash between sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

Jarkko Nieminen rallied from a set down to beat Lukas Dlouhy on Wednesday and became the first player to reach the quarter-finals at the 59th Swedish Open.

Nieminen won the second-round match 6-7 (2), 6-0, 6-3.

The fourth-seeded Finn took control after losing the opening set 7-2 on a tiebreak. He won the second set in just 20 minutes, breaking the Czech's serve three times.

Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko also needed three sets to advance to the quarter-finals, ousting fellow Russian Yuri Schukin 6-0, 3-6, 6-1.

Others reaching the last eight were Chile's Nicolas Massu, who beat Jose Acasuso of Argentina 6-4, 6-2, and No. 8 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Oliver Marach of Austria.

After losing nine straight games, Dlouhy finally held his serve to trail 3-1 in the decisive set. Nieminen needed only one match point to win.

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