Rain wrecks havoc for second straight day at US Open


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Rain wrecked the second day of the US Open with only an hour of play possible by the evening.

A three and a half hour delay kept players off court to start the day as heavy showers swept through the New York area and when they did begin hitting balls it was women's top seed Amelie Mauresmo that got the action underway.

The French woman shrugged off the gathering gloom to bolt out into a 4-1 lead against Germany qualifier Kristina Barrios before the skies opened again sending them scurrying for shelter.

They were back 20 minutes later with Mauresmo wrapping up the set 6-1.

But with her right thigh heavily strapped and looking rusty after a long layoff following her Wimbledon triumph in July, the world No.1 started to struggle in the second set and was 5-2 down when the rain came down again.

This time there was no letup as heavier rain poured down and organisers were left with their worst scheduling headache since the bad weather that hit the 2003 tournament.

By 2300 GMT, there was still no sign of the rain relenting and most of the day's scheduled games were called off although play had not yet been abandoned for the day.

In other games that saw the light of day, 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, who has struggled all year with injuries, was level 5-5 with Spain's Albert Montanes and French hope Gael Monfils took the first set 6-2 against American qualifier Michael Russell.

Monday's opening day was also hit with a 90 minutes delay at the start of the programme before the players finally managed to get on court.

The bottom half of the women's draw was completed with straight wins for former winners Lindsay Davenport and Justine-Henin Hardenne.

All but eight of the ties in the bottom half of the men's programme were also concluded.

Andre Agassi's four sets win over Andrei Pavel of Romania was the pick of the action, extending his stay in what he has said would be his last tournament before retiring.

He is not due back on court again before Thursday when he will take on rising Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, the eighth seed, for a place in the third round.

Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic was the first top seed to fall, going down in straight sets to Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Top seed and title-holder Roger Federer was not scheduled to play until Wednesday when he takes on Taiwan's Wang Yeu-Tzuoo in what will be a first meeting between the two.

His main rival on the men's tour, Rafael Nadal of Spain, was one of those who was put on hold on Tuesday.

He will have to hope for a clearing of the skies on Wednesday before opening his campaign against the dangerous former US Open finalist Mark Philippoussis of Australia.

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