NEW YORK (AP) — Kim Clijsters beat Petra Kvitova and Hurricane Earl with a quick victory before rain suspended play Friday at the U.S. Open.
The skies opened up around 2:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) with fourth-seeded Andy Murray, 18th-seeded John Isner and American teen Ryan Harrison among those on the court.
The forecast from the tournament’s meteorologist called for intermittent showers. Officials planned to try to get in the full schedule of matches.
The main concern went from heat to rain in a matter of hours. Defending champion Clijsters won the final 12 games in her 6-3, 6-0 third-round victory over the 27th-seeded Kvitova. The second-seeded Clijsters dropped two service games to fall behind 3-0 early.
Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal were to play in the night session.
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 quarterfinals or better in nine of her last 10 events.
Stosur beat the 37th-ranked Errani for the second time in just more than a week. She needed a third-set tiebreaker to defeat the Italian in New Haven, Conn.
Stosur nearly lost in the first round at the U.S. Open, dropping the opening set then going to a tiebreaker in the second against 64th-ranked Elena Vesnina. But she has cruised since and had seven aces and 37 winners Friday.
“First rounds are always that little extra bit of nerves and a little tricky,” Stosur said. “Vesnina had been playing well recently, so it certainly wasn’t the easiest first round you could’ve got. So to battle through that, I have a chance now to get to this point. And, yeah, I’ve played quite well the past two matches.”
Stosur moves on to face Dementieva, who beat 24th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-2. Dementieva, the 2004 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, has reached the semifinals three times but lost in the second round last year. The Russian missed Wimbledon with a left calf injury and has fallen out of the top 10 in the rankings for the first time in more than three years.
Hantuchova has not beaten Dementieva since 2005, not including retirements. The Slovakian reached the fourth round at the U.S. Open last year.
Dementieva converted all six break points Friday. Hantuchova was just 3 of 9.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.