Weather the only winner as Britons are forced to wait

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The scheduling of matches is always a contentious issue here at the US Open and as the skies opened overhead some players were left to wonder when they might first strike a ball in anger.

Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, who play each other, did not feature on the second day's order of play ­ even in perfect conditions some first-round matches are not scheduled to start until today ­ while fellow Britons Andy Murray and Josh Goodall hung around for most of yesterday before discovering they would not make it on to court.

Murray had been due to play second on Grandstand Court against Robert Kendrick. The start of the preceding match was delayed, however, and no sooner had Gael Monfils won the first set against Michael Russell than the players headed for cover again.

By late afternoon, the only match that had made it into a second set was in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Amélie Mauresmo was leading Kristina Barrois when rain stopped play at 6-1, 2-5. Shortly after 5pm, Murray and Goodall were among those informed that their services would not be required until today.

While his fellow countrymen were no doubt anxious to get on with the business in hand, Goodall was probably enjoying the chance to extend his stay in the Big Apple. The 20-year-old British No 8 is having the time of his tennis life, having qualified for Wimbledon and the main draw here.

Watched by John Lloyd, Britain's new Davis Cup coach, Goodall came from a set down in the final round of qualifying to beat the experienced Frenchman, Michael Llodra. Lloyd says he will ring the changes for next month's relegation decider away to Ukraine, having already told the British No 4, Alex Bogdanovic, that he will not be in contention, and will have been impressed by Goodall's fighting spirit.

Rusedski, who hopes to make the trip to Odessa after returning from injury, has followed Goodall's progress with admiration. "He's earned his way twice in two major championships, which I don't think any British player has done in a long, long while," Rusedski said. "What I like about him is that he's not getting a free lunch. He's earning it.

"He beat Llodra, who's been a top 50 player, won two Slams in doubles and got to the finals of tour events. It shows that he can belong here and that the work he's doing is right. That's what you want to see. You want to see kids coming out here taking risks and coming to qualifying."

Goodall, who comes from a sporting family of Chelsea supporters, first picked up a racket during a four-year spell in Australia. He returned to Britain when he was eight and has been playing tennis full-time since completing his GCSEs.

"I hated school," he said after a practice session here. "I wasn't very good at concentrating. I had a hyperactivity disorder, but grew out of it when I was 16. I wasn't concentrating in class or on court. What coaches would say would go in one ear and out the other. When I played matches, I was not 100 per cent focused.

"I think I've matured a lot in the last year. I've done a lot of work on my fitness, working with the LTA trainer, and I've changed to playing one-handed on the forehand. I was two-handed on both sides. That's given me a lot more options. I feel my forehand is now a massive strength, whereas it was maybe a weakness.

"I had a lot of coaches try to change it when I was about 10. My parents and I felt that playing double-handed was natural for me and that I'd never change it. But then all of a sudden my coach and I decided at one tournament to just give it a go ­ and I qualified for Wimbledon playing that way."

Sporting a red earring in his left ear, Goodall said he hoped that further progress here would delay a trip to a jeweller's shop. "I swap my earrings round every time I lose," he said. "I go and buy one every time."

Results from Flushing Meadows

US Open (Flushing Meadows, New York) Men's singles, first round: M BAGHDATIS (Cyp) bt A Waske (Ger) 7-6 7-6 6-3; A Agassi (US) bt A Pavel (Rom) 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-2; B Becker (Ger) bt F Volandri (It) 4-6 7-6 6-4 7-6; T Alves (Br) bt M Zabaleta (Arg) 6-2 7-5 6-7 6-3; K Pless (Den) bt A Martin (Sp) 3-6 3-6 7-6 6-1 6-2; A RODDICK (US) bt F Serra (Fr) 6-2 6-1 6-3; M Fish (US) bt S Grül (Ger) 6-4 6-4 1-6 6-3; N DJOKOVIC (Serb) bt D Young (US) 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-1; R GASQUET (Fr) bt P Simmonds (US) 6-1 6-3 6-1; G Simon (Fr) bt D Bracciali (It) 7-5 6-4 6-1; M Chiudinelli (Swit) bt F Vicente (Sp) 6-4 6-1 6-4; F Lopez (Sp) bt I LJUBICIC (Croa) 6-3 6-3 6-3; T ROBREDO (Sp) bt F Saretta (Br) 6-2 6-1 6-2; Hyung Taik Lee (S Kor) bt R Ramirez Hidalgo (Sp) 7-5 6-4 6-0; R Soderling (Swe) bt I Karlovic (Croa) 6-4 7-6 7-5; S Wawrinka (Swit) bt J I CHELA (Arg) 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4; M Youzhny (Rus) bt D HRBATY (Slovak) 7-5 6-1 6-3; N Massu (Chile) bt D Sanguinetti (It) 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4; J Gimelstob (US) bt O Marach (Aut) 6-2 6-3 7-5; D FERRER (Sp) bt N Almagro (Sp) 7-6 7-6 6-1; X Malisse (Bel) bt J NIEMINEN (Fin) 6-4 7-5 6-2; B Phau (Ger) bt J Morrison (US) 6-3 7-6 6-4; J Novak (Cz Rep) bt A Clement (Fr) 7-5 6-2 7-5; P Srichaphan (Thai) bt J ACASUSO (Arg) 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-7 6-3.

Women's singles, first round: S KUZNETSOVA (Rus) bt S Klösol (Ger) 6-2 2-6 6-3; L Albanese (US) bt O Savchuk (Ukr) 6-7 6-4 6-2; A Rodionova (Rus) bt H Sromova (Cz Rep) 7-5 7-5; JIE ZHENG (Ch) bt K Peschke (Cz Rep) 6-4 5-7 7-5; J JANKOVIC (Serb) bt G Dulko (Arg) 6-7 6-1 6-4; K Flipkens (Bel) bt Chan Yung-Jan (Taiw) 6-4 6-2; A Jidkova (Rus) bt J Kirkland (US) 3-6 6-2 6-4; N VAIDISOVA (Cz Rep) bt C Rubin (US) 6-4 6-3; A Rezai (Fr) bt A-L GROENEFELD (Ger) 2-6 6-0 6-4; L Safarova (Cz Rep) bt S Stosur (Aus) 6-2 7-6; S Bremond (Fr) bt S Dubois (Can) 6-1 6-3; M KIRILENKO (Rus) bt J Schruff (Ger) 6-3 6-4; V ZVONAREVA (Rus) bt M Domachowska (Pol) 7-6 6-3; J Craybas (US) bt I Benesova (Cz Rep) 6-2 6-0; M Tu (US) bt E Laine (Fin) 6-1 6-1; E DEMENTIEVA (Rus) bt L Granville (US) 6-1 6-4; P SCHNYDER (Swit) bt A Smashnova (Isr) 6-1 6-2; S Arvidsson (Swe) bt C Martinez-Granados (Sp) 6-2 6-4; V Lepchenko (Uzb) bt C Castano (Col) 6-7 6-1 6-1; M BARTOLI (Fr) bt O Poutchkova (Rus) 6-4 6-0; K SREBOTNIK (Slovak) bt A Morigami (Japan) 6-2 6-3; E Bychkova (Rus) bt L Skavronskaia (Rus) 7-6 7-6; J Kostanic (Croa) bt S Asagoe (Japan) 6-4 7-6; L DAVENPORT (US) bt K Zakopalova (Cz Rep) 6-1 6-4; F SCHIAVONE (It) bt R Oprandi (It) 6-1 6-2; S Mirza (Ind) bt K Sprem (Croa) 6-4 6-2; M Müller (Ger) bt A Yakimova (Bela) 7-6 6-3; S PEER (Isr) bt V Bardina (Rus) 6-2 6-2; A SUGIYAMA (Japan) bt Z Ondraskova (Cz Rep) 6-1 6-0; T Garbin (It) bt Meng Yuan (Ch) 6-3 6-1; V King (US) bt A Molik (Aus) 6-3 6-2; J HENIN-HARDENNE (Bel) bt M E Camerin (It) 6-2 6-1.

seeded players in CAPITALS