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U.S. Open: Men's final in rain delay; Nadal up 6-4, 4-4. Rest on ESPN2

Usopenrain_600

It was a bad sign about 5:40 EDT when a CBS cameraman began covering his equipment in plastic. Ten minutes later the cameraman was putting on a rain suit. At about 6 p.m. U.S. Open tournament referee Brian Earley was telling Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, "Get off the court, guys, it's going to be a bad one."

Storms have arrived at the U.S. Open in a men's final already delayed a day by rain. And CBS is giving up on the match. When it resumes it will be on ESPN2 instead of CBS.

Top-seeded Nadal won the first set, 6-4, and he was helped immensely when Djokovic was broken in the first game of the match, a nervous effort from the 23-year-old Serb who is seeded third and playing  in his second final here.

Djokovic evened the first set at 2-2 when he and Nadal began punishing each other with extreme rallies of mutually grunting power tennis. Nadal got the decisive service break in the fifth game, in a 14-point game where he needed six break points to get the advantage with a big forehand winner.

But in the second set Djokovic suddenly seized control of the set during a stretch in the fourth and fifth games, Djokovic won 11 straight points, earned a service break and a 4-1 lead.

After Nadal was down 0-15 on his serve in the sixth game, he seemed to regain his rhythm. Djokovic knocked a passing shot into the net and Nadal dipped a nifty drop shot over the net, so perfect that Djokovic applauded. Nadal held serve at 30 and was down 2-4, then broke Djokovic in the next game, one where Djokovic seemed in control, up 40-15 on his serve. Thunder was heard during the game and on his third break-point chance, Nadal converted then quickly held serve for 4-4.

It was clear that the rain was approaching, though. Wind was noisily whipping the large American flag high above Arthur Ashe Stadium and when the drops started falling, Earley was quickly on the court, whisking the two players away.

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Fans leave their Arthur Ashe Stadium seats after ordered to evacuate because of lightning during a thunderstorm on Monday at the U.S. Open men's championship match. Credit: Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

 
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