Washout gives Agassi much-needed breather

Andre Agassi got an extra day’s rest at the US Open as both the day and night sessions were cancelled due to bad weather.

Andre Agassi got an extra day’s rest at the US Open as both the day and night sessions were cancelled due to bad weather.

Barely 36 hours after outlasting eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis in a five-set thriller, the 36-year-old Agassi was scheduled to be the main attraction yesterday.

But with heavy rains from tropical storm Ernesto delaying the start of the action several hours, the day session at Arthur Ashe Stadium was cancelled, postponing Agassi’s third-round match against German qualifier Benjamin Becker until 1600 BST this afternoon.

Britain’s Andy Murray also returns to action today, the 17th seed taking on number 10 seed Fernando Gonzalez in the third match on Grandstand Court.

One of the measures to make up for the lost day’s play will be a special Sunday night session at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“The outlook looks good for the rest of the weekend and I’m sure we’ll turn a soggy Saturday into a super Sunday,” said the United States Tennis Association’s chief executive of professional tennis, Arlen Kantarian.

The wait will give Agassi even more time to recover from his second marathon match of the tournament.

After going three-and-a-half hours against Romania’s Andrei Pavel on Monday, Agassi needed nearly four hours to shake off Baghdatis 6-4 6-4 3-6 5-7 7-5.

Following both his matches, Agassi has taken cortisone injections for his ailing back, which is among the reasons he is retiring after the Open.

Should Agassi win today, the two-time champion would have to play again tomorrow, tournament director Jim Curley confirmed.

Also pushed back a day were the first two scheduled matches at Ashe – women’s third-seed Maria Sharapova against 32nd-seeded fellow Russian Elena Likhovtseva and men’s ninth seed and 2003 champion Andy Roddick vs number 22 Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

The Roddick-Verdasco winner will face Agassi or Becker in the fourth round.

The USTA did try to stage several matches, most notably four singles ties that either did not begin or were suspended due to rain on Friday.

But they gave up hope around 2315 BST, cancelling the night session.

Among the second-round men’s matches that did not get under way on Friday were number four seed David Nalbandian’s clash with unseeded 2000 champion Marat Safin and 10th seed and 1998 women’s champion Lindsay Davenport match against number Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.

Also, number 26 seed Marion Bartoli of France was hoping to complete an upset of number seven Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, as she holds a 6-0, 1-3 lead.

Third-round matches washed away from the night session included that of Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal, who was looking to take advantage of an open draw with a match against South African Wesley Moodie.

Only two other seeds remain in Nadal’s section – number six Tommy Robredo and number 11 David Ferrer, both Spaniards.

Nadal would not face either until the quarter-finals.

The winner of the Nadal-Moodie match will face either Belgian Xavier Malisse or Czech Jiri Novak in the fourth round.

Robredo plays Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and Ferrer takes on Russian Mikhail Youzhny, with the winners to meet in the round of 16.

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