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

AP , NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

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.

PHOTO: AP

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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