* Men’s matches abandoned because of persistent rain
* Organisers aim to play women’s quarter-finals (adds details)
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Open men’s matches scheduled for Wednesday were abandoned due to persistent rain, organisers announced in a decision taken after a revolt of top players against being asked to play in “dangerous” conditions.
Four men’s fourth-round matches, including three that had barely been started on the drizzly, misting day at Flushing Meadows, will be moved to Thursday.
Quarter-finals men’s matches pitting top seed Novak Djokovic against fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, and five-time winner Roger Federer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had already been scrubbed from Wednesday’s programme.
Disgruntled defending champion Rafa Nadal managed just 16 minutes of play before rain interrupted his fourth-round match against Gilles Muller.
The Spanish second seed, upset about taking the court in damp conditions, was trailing Luxembourg’s Muller 3-0, while fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray trailed American wildcard Donald Young 2-1.
American Andy Roddick, the 2003 champion who is seeded 21st, was leading fifth seed David Ferrer of Spain 3-1 when play was suspended at the rain-hit National Tennis Center.
Nadal, Murray and Roddick were later seen leaving the tournament referee’s office after protesting against having been sent out to play in wet conditions, which make the court surface slippery and leave players vulnerable to injury.
“If it’s up for discussion whether the courts are playable, then they’re not playable,” Roddick said. “We just wanted to make sure we weren’t put in that position again, and I think we’re all clear now.”
The other men’s fourth-round match between 12th-seeded Gilles Simon of France and big-serving American John Isner had not yet begun.
The building back-log of matches raised the possibility that the men’s final might have to be shifted from Sunday to Monday for a fourth successive year.
Organisers, striving to complete as many matches as they can following Tuesday’s total washout, said they hoped to stage the four women’s quarter-final matches simultaneously should they get a window of opportunity at the water-logged facility.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki was facing Andrea Petkovic, three-time winner Serena Williams was to play 17th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, second seed Vera Zvonareva was going against Sam Stosur and Flavia Pennetta was facing Angelique Kerber.
The weather forecast calls for intermittent rain through Wednesday night and the chance of scattered showers on Thursday.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org