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No rest for stars of US Open who move up ladder to win

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Photo gallery

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Two fans find a place to rest in the Grandstand Stadium. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Venus Williams gets ready for a serve at the 2012 US Open.
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Russia’s Maria Kirilenko takes a moment to rest between sets. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Roger Federer plays at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Angelique Kerber of Germany returns the ball during her win against Williams. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Feliciano Lopez’s shadow mirrors his motion on the court. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Andy Murray serves at Louis Armstrong Stadium. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova returns the ball during a match. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova returns the ball during a match. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Venus Williams serves during her match. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Russia’s Maria Kirilenko prepares to serve. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Andy Roddick gestures during his match with Fabio Fogniniin Sunday.

Most of America relaxed on Labor Day, but the athletes at the 2012 US Open were not so lucky.

The threat of rain hung over the evening matches Monday, with clouds allowing a few droplets to fall onto the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, adding a heightened intensity to two evening matches.

In Arthur Ashe Stadium, Canadian Milos Raonic took on No. 3-ranked Scotsman Andy Murray, whose control over the tennis ball pushed the boundaries of physics as the yellow orb flew in nearly impossible trajectories to land just out of his opponent’s reach.

Early on, Raonic was crushing serves past Murry at speeds approaching 140 mph as the Scotsman seemed practically paralyzed as the ball shot past. But the numerous aces that have become synonymous with Raonic were not enough, and Murray eventually prevailed over his opponent 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and moved on to the quarterfinals.

“I knew going into the match that I was going to have to return well,” the 25-year-old said in a news conference following his victory, discussing his opponent’s serving prowess.

Over in the smaller and more intimate Louis Armstrong Stadium, Serena and Venus Williams took on Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in a heated doubles match.

As the sisters rallied from behind toward the crescendo of the final game, the crowd grew tense. The dead silence in the arena between serves was broken only by the babbling of an infant that someone brought to the night match.

“Get a baby-sitter,” one US Open usher groused. “People paid a lot of money to see this.”

But just as the sisters seemed on the brink of tying the second set at five games a piece, a series of out-of-bounds shots led them to defeat in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-4.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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