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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Off-Form Kafelnikov Exits Hamlet Cup

COMMACK, New York — Top seed Magnus Norman of Sweden cruised into the third round but second seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia was quickly sent out of the $415,200 Hamlet Cup tennis event on Wednesday.

Norman posted a 6-4, 6-1 victory over countryman Jonas Bjorkman in 72 minutes after receiving a first-round bye. His next opponent will be Eric Taino of the United States.

Kafelnikov, who admitted he was not physically or psychologically ready to play, weakly succumbed to Karol Kucera of Slovakia 6-1, 6-3 in 50 minutes.

Brazilian qualifier Fernando Meligeni ousted ninth seed Albert Costa of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Spaniard Carlos Moya had a 7-5, 1-1 lead over fourth-seeded countryman Alex Corretja when Corretja retired due to a stomach illness.

Rain wreaked havoc with the rest of the day’s schedule as three matches were postponed and two others suspended.

The defending champion, Norman has been at or near the top of the ATP Champions Race for most of the season as he vies for his first year-end No. 1 ranking. The Swede has a 51-16 season record with three tournament wins and a runner-up showing at the French Open.

But Norman has struggled in the summer hardcourt season, winning just two of four matches as he prepares for the U.S. Open beginning next Monday.

A two-time champion here, Kafelnikov is still seeking his first title of the season. The Russian has gone 41-26 in 2000 but has come up short in two finals appearances, including the Australian Open on hard courts. He fell to 7-4 overall in four summer hardcourt events heading into the U.S. Open.

Kucera evened his lifetime record against the Russian to 3-3.

"I played today a player who knows how to play the game," said Kafelnikov, who lost his serve five times and had as many double faults. "Unfortunately, he came out very strong and maybe I wasn’t ready for the top level. Every factor was going against me. It’s disappointing to go out of the tournament this way."

Third seed Thomas Enqvist of Sweden had his match against Paul Goldstein of the United States pushed back until Thursday.

Also postponed were matches between 10th-seeded American Michael Chang and Byron Black of Zimbabwe, as well as 13th seed Marc Rosset of Switzerland and Nicolas Massu of Chile.

Men’s top seed Agassi begins the defense of his U.S. Open title against U.S. collegiate champion Alex Kim.

Agassi heads a top half of the draw loaded with accomplished hardcourt players, including four-time champion Pete Sampras, Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist, former Australian Open champion Kafelnikov and Britain’s Tim Henman.

Second-seeded Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten finds himself in a quarter of the draw that includes unseeded two-time champion Patrick Rafter and 15th-seeded former runner-up Mark Philippoussis.