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September 13, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Rain plays havoc at Flushing Meadows

UNRELENTING rain washed out play at the US Open on Friday, sending the event to a Monday finish for the second year in a row.

The final grand slam of the year had been treated to near-perfect weather for the first 10 days but heavy rain over the last 24 hours wreaked havoc with the schedule.

"Certainly today is a damn shame," four-time champion and TV commentator John McEnroe said about the lost day at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Thursday's rain-suspended quarterfinal between world No. 3 Rafael Nadal and Chile's Fernando Gonzalez will now open the program on Arthur Ashe Stadium to see who will face Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the final four. The Nadal-Gonzalez match will be followed by the men's doubles championship and the women's semifinal between Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.

However, officials said the doubles final and the Wozniacki-Wickmayer semifinal could be moved out of the stadium if earlier matches run long.

Prime-time affair

The highly anticipated women's semifinal between No. 2 Serena Williams and 2005 champion Kim Clijsters will now be a prime-time affair, concluding play this morning (Shanghai time).

The so-called Super Saturday scheduling of men's semifinals along with the women's final on the day before the tournament's Sunday finish has always made bad weather toward the end of the Open fortnight a dicey proposition.

"Unfortunately it's always the roll of the dice when you get that Thursday night match," McEnroe said about the last quarterfinal, as Nadal and Gonzalez can attest.

"It can be a big problem," he said about a delay that carries the match over to Friday. "The winner doesn't have any leeway and has to play three in a row.

"Now we're talking about a Monday final. There's not a lot of margin for error. It also makes it tougher for Rafa (Nadal) to win it."

When rain halted the last men's quarterfinal on Thursday night, third-seeded Nadal led No. 11 Gonzalez 7-6, 6-6 with the Chilean serving at 2-3 in the tiebreak.

The 23-year-old Nadal, hoping to win the one major title to elude him, was suffering from a strained stomach muscle and could be aided by an extra day of rest.

But in order to realize his dream, the Spanish left-hander would still have to play three matches in three days, with the men's semifinals today and the men's final tomorrow.


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