The U.S. Open got under way 90 minutes late today, one day after weather conditions washed out the entire schedule.
The forecast calls for scattered showers through the day and night at the National Tennis Center in New York, as the tournament organizers try to squeeze in 10 singles matches today.
“Today’s weather forecast calls for intermittent drizzle with some possible periods of dryness this afternoon,” tournament organizers said in a statement on the U.S. Open website. “We continue to monitor the weather and will make every effort to play today’s scheduled matches.”
Four men’s fourth-round matches and two women’s quarterfinals were canceled yesterday as rain fell throughout the day. All four women’s quarterfinals, two men’s quarterfinals and four men’s fourth-round matches are planned for today.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal, the men’s No. 2 seed from Spain, faces Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and highest-seeded American man left at No. 21, was also set to play at 11 a.m. against No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Andy Murray, the fourth seed from the U.K., was to play at the same time on the Grandstand court against American wild-card entry Donald Young. No. 28 John Isner of the U.S. and No. 12 Gilles Simon of France also meet in a fourth-round match, which was moved to Court 17 after originally being scheduled for the Grandstand.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic is scheduled to play fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the first men’s quarterfinal in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Roger Federer, a five-time U.S. Open champion and No. 3 seed from Switzerland, is set to face No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in a quarterfinal night match on the featured court.
The first match scheduled for tonight is a women’s quarterfinal between three-time champion Serena Williams of the U.S. and No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
Williams is favored by oddsmakers to win the tournament even though she was seeded 28th after two injury-marred years.
Women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is scheduled to play No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany, while the other women’s quarterfinals feature No. 2 Vera Zvonareva of Russia against No. 9 Samantha Stosur of Australia, and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy against Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Rain delays could pose different challenges for players from yesterday’s cancellation, said 1978 U.S. Open runner-up Pam Shriver, now a broadcaster for ESPN.
“What gets hard is when you’re almost on and it rains again, or you’re on and have to get off,” Shriver told usopen.org. “Because then you’re getting yourself emotionally ready and then you’re waiting again.”
Rain delays aren’t new for the U.S. Open, the last of tennis’s four annual major championships.
The tournament has been extended one day each of the past three years, leading to a Monday men’s finale. The U.S. tennis championships have been extended because of inclement weather 13 times since 1935, according to the U.S. Tennis Association.
“We’re still on course to finish on Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men,” tournament referee Brian Earley said in a televised interview with ESPN today. “If we lose today and tomorrow, then we’re going to really be concerned.”
None of the 17 competition courts at the National Tennis Center has a retractable roof such as those at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, two of the sport’s other three majors.