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But there were no signs of rain Thursday. Only more heat.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki had an easy time in the 95-degree sauna that was Flushing Meadows, blanking 84th-ranked Chang Kai-chen 6-0, 6-0.
"I'm pretty disappointed, but not embarrassed," Chang said. "I know it's in front of a lot of people and on TV and stuff. But things happen."
Certainly, Chang left the Open in better shape than No. 11 Marin Cilic, who lost to 147th-ranked qualifier Kei Nishikori of Japan in a cramp-inducing, five-set loss that took a minute short of five hours. For the third straight day, tournament officials triggered their extreme-heat policy, allowing for more visits from trainers to help players deal with conditions.
"It's not easy to accept that you stayed on court for five hours, had chances and then you're done," said Cilic, a quarterfinalist at last year's Open. "It was physically very tough. The conditions were really tough. It was hot and it was very humid and it wasn't easy to get the oxygen."
Cilic was one of a handful of upset victims on Day 4 of a tournament that has had its share of surprises.
No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska lost to Peng Shuai, and No. 22 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez lost to Patty Schnyder. On the men's side, Richard Gasquet of France defeated sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
"All he had to do was hit the ball back to me a few times and I make a mistake and he wins the point," the frustrated Davydenko said.
Other seeded winners included 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2008 runner-up Jelena Jankovic and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva. In the last match of the evening, No. 3 Novak Djokovic advanced to the men's third round in straight sets.
Almost all, of course, get second billing below Sharapova on any day when she's on the program. The next match might be an exception, though: An 18-year-old American underdog vs. a 23-year-old Russian sophisticate. Not tough to figure how that one will play in the Big Apple.
"I think it's totally understandable," Sharapova said. "We're playing in New York. When you have someone that's coming up, having a great Open, I mean, there's no reason why there shouldn't be lots of support behind her."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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