Cold drizzle forces first interruption of match
After 10 days of clear weather, rain and winds swept through Flushing Meadows Thursday, tossing the US Open's final weekend into disarray and stranding Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez in the midst of their quarter-final.
A year after Nadal's semi-final against eventual runner-up Andy Murray spilled into a second day because of the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna, the Spaniard again ran into foul weather.
Nadal, his groundstroke drives piercing through the swirling winds, lost just one point on his serve until the 11th game when he had to fend off two set points to stretch it into a tiebreaker.
After winning the tiebreak 7-4, Nadal took timeout to have a trainer treat his strained abdominal muscle before beginning the second set.
They managed to play only four more games when a cold drizzle forced the first interruption of the match.
Image: Fernando Gonzalez takes a break, as a brief spell of rain interrupts play, during the first set of his US Open quarter-final tie against Rafael Nadal on Thursday
Nadal leads Gonzalez 7-6, 6-6
Nadal was leading Gonzalez 7-6, 6-6 with the Chilean serving at 2-3 in the tie-break when a second shower burst halted Day 11 proceedings at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
For the second year running, Nadal faces the prospect of playing a string of successive days at the year's last major if he is to win the only grand slam missing from his collection.
The eventual winner of the last men's quarter-final will meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final.
Image: Rafael Nadal takes cover
Potro powers through to semis
Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro battled through blustery conditions to beat Croatian 16th seed Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 to book a semi-finals berth at the US Open on Thursday.
Fighting back after losing the first set and trailing 3-1 in the second, the Argentine induced Cilic into a flood of groundstroke errors and the demoralised Croat lost 17 of the final 20 games.
Cilic had 53 unforced errors in all, compared to just 24 for Del Potro.
Image: Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro exults after his quarter-final win
Volatile conditions get the better of Cilic
Cilic opened the match by hitting the lines, dictating the pace, and letting Del Potro spray the ball wide. But as quickly as a snap of the fingers, their roles reversed.
"Definitely he started to play much better and not giving me so many chances to dictate the game," the Croat said. "He was not missing and also putting a lot of pressure on me.
"Then it was tough for me to hold that level of game."
The winds kicked up on a chilly day at Arthur Ashe Stadium and Cilic admitted he had trouble with the volatile conditions.
"I found after the first set that it got a lot cooler and the court was a little bit hard to play on.
"The ball wasn't going through the court as much as it was in the beginning. Then he was on top of me all the time and not letting me to find any other solution to get back," Cilic said.
Image: Marin Cilic looks glum after losing
Williams sisters in women's doubles final
The fourth seed pair of Venus Williams and Serena Williams defeated Russians Alisa Kleybanova and Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-2, on Thursday, to enter the women's doubles final at the US Open.
The American fourth seeds will next face the winner of Friday's semifinal between defending champions Cara Black and Liezel Huber and third-seeded Australians Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs.
The Williams sisters won the doubles at this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon, and will be seeking their 10th grand slam title as a pairing.
Image: Venus (left) and Serena Williams