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Rain dampens Nadal's fireworks.

RAFAEL NADAL and Fernando Gonzalez were held up by rain as they attempted to finish their US Open quarter-final at Flushing Meadows.

Play was twice suspended at Arthur Ashe Stadium as rain disrupted the US Open for the first time in 11 days of play at the last grand slam championship of the year.

Yet after nearly three hours of delays, with many fans having remained on site and even the ball boys lined up and ready to resume, play was called off for the night with third seed Nadal of Spain leading the Chilean 11th seed 7-6 (7-4) and leading a second set tie-break 3-2. The opening set had been high octane stuff, Nadal getting the better of the early skirmishes as he moved Gonzalez from side to side on the baseline but the match staying on serve.

The Chilean had won just one point in the first five Nadal service games, but he had the Spaniard in trouble at 6-5 up and 30-all, ripping a backhand deep down the line for a set point on the third seed's serve.

Gonzalez saw it slip from his grasp as he netted a forehand, but he got another chance when pressure from his backhand saw Nadal respond with a netted forehand of his own. With the set on the line, Nadal went on the offensive pushing Gonzalez at full stretch to try and reach a backhand as another set point was saved. From there, Nadal won the game and sent the set into a tie-break, which he sealed to take the set.

There was also disruption in the second set, with rain beginning to fall at 2-2. Play was suspended but the players were held on court by tournament referee Brian Earley, who later explained that the forecast was for a passing shower.

After an hour-and-16-minute rain delay, Nadal in fact showed no ill effects and earned two set points at 5-4, his first break points of match.

Gonzalez responded with two big serves Nadal could not return, while a third set point had to be replayed to the Spaniard's disgust when a plastic bag drifted across the court.

When play resumed Gonzalez saved it with a forehand winner, then had a point overturned on a challenged line call and then unleashed another huge forehand to take the game to level up at 5-5 on the way to another tie-break.

They managed just five more points before play was halted again as another light shower began to fall.

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FRUSTRATED: Rafael Nadal
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2009
Words:422
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