Rain delays Agassi match

ANDRE AGASSI walked onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the third day in a row, but the world number one has still managed to finish only one match in that span as rain halted the US Open yesterday.

The 33-year-old American, seeking his ninth Grand Slam tennis title, was only able to practice with coach Darren Cahill and exchange some shots with fourth-round foe Taylor Dent on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts between drops.

Showers delayed the start for more than 2½ hours, relented long enough for US sixth seed Jennifer Capriati to seize a 4-0 lead on Russian 11th seed Elena Dementieva in just 13 minutes, then returned to halt play once more.

Japanese 15th seed Ai Sugiyama and Italian foe Francesca Schiavone were warming up at Louis Armstrong Stadium when the storm forced them off the court.

Return master Agassi and hard-serving Dent, the 22-year-old son of retired Australian ace Jim Dent, were to start when Capriati’s match was done.

Instead, Agassi spent the afternoon carrying son Jaden Gil into hospitality suites inside the stadium, making the most of his enforced idleness.

Showers began bothering Agassi on Saturday when they halted his third-round match against Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Agassi led 6-3, 0-1 when a downpour sent him off the court for an extended break. Rain faded and the court was dried, but after Agassi won the first point off Kafelnikov’s serve, showers returned.

Eventually, every other match was completed on Saturday except Agassi and Kafelnikov. The US Tennis Association delayed the end of the match to Sunday.

The rain also delayed Thai 11th seed Paradorn Srichaphan’s duel with sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt and Russian seventh seed Anastasia Myskina’s match against Mary Pierce.

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