x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

US Open competitors keep one eye on Hurricane Earl

Kim Clijsters beats Petra Kvitova and Hurricane Earl with a quick victory at the US Open.

NEW YORK // Kim Clijsters beat Petra Kvitova and Hurricane Earl with a quick victory yesterday at the US Open. All eyes were on Clijsters, Andy Murray and the weather radar as play began under grey skies. Several matches were stopped in the early afternoon, with the Arthur Ashe Stadium match between fourth-seeded Murray and Dustin Brown, the unseeded Jamaican, halted by Brian Earley, the referee, with the score at 2-1 on serve to the Briton.

The main concern went from heat to rain in a matter of hours. Clijsters, the defending champion and second-seeded woman, won the final 12 games in her 6-3, 6-0 third-round victory over the 27th-seeded Kvitova. Clijsters dropped two service games to fall behind 3-0 early. "I am happy to have my match done before the storm comes, if it does come," Clijsters said in reference to the effects of Hurricane Earl on the east coast.

"Now I can go back and play with Jada [her daughter] in the hotel while everyone else battles it out here." Fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur and 12th-seeded Elena Dementieva also advanced. "It was so strange, because since last evening we all were talking about how bad it's going to be today," Dementieva said. "Coming to the stadium, I was looking at the window, expecting, 'Where is the rain? Where is the wind?' You know, [we were] playing in absolutely perfect conditions this morning."

Stosur, the French Open runner-up, extended her longest run at the Open, beating Sara Errani 6-2, 6-3. The Australian had never gotten past the second round at Flushing Meadows in six previous tries. But the 26-year-old is in the midst of a career year and has reached the quarter-finals or better in nine of her last 10 events. Stosur moves on to face Dementieva, who beat 24th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-2. Dementieva, the 2004 runner-up in New York, has reached the semi-finals three times.

* Associated Press