With all promising signs of a powerful storm evident in the sky and strong winds rushing through the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the U.S. Open men’s semifinal featuring defending champion Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded David Ferrer was postponed into the first set of Saturday’s match.
Just half an hour into the match, with David Ferrer leading at 5-2 the game was put-off till Sunday owing to disruptive play from the charging winds. U.S. Open referee Brian Earley took to the court to inform the two players and the chair umpire that the game could not be carried on due to the harsh weather conditions.
The U.S. Open seems to attract a bad weather mojo towards the end of the tournament, and this is the fifth consecutive time that it is being extended due to the routine conditions at Washington around this time of year.
There was a lot of frustration and disappointment as the spectators seated in the open-roof stadium half-heartedly left following announcements by match officials blaring on the loudspeakers, ““At this time, we ask you to please make your way out of the stadium in an orderly fashion.”
Sunday’s game will play a significant note in deciding who faces U.S. Open title contender Andy Murray into the final after he breezed through the semifinal against Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych.
Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych Saturday game was also delayed an hour due to rain. Although the 20 mph winds were a constant obstacle, blowing-off Andy Murray’s signature cap and yanking a changeover chair onto court, still he managed to defeat Tomas Berdych with 7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) on the way to his fifth Grand Slam final.
“I’m surprised it didn’t happen more,” Andy Murray said about the constant disruption caused by the weather. “It was so, so windy.”
U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that packs a tight schedule with back-to-back semifinals on a Saturday, making rescheduling due to unpredictable weather a challenge for officials. It is also the only Grand Slam tournament hosted under an open-roof compared to Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
The U.S. Open final was consequently shifted from Sunday to Monday, which is slowly becoming a common sight at the tournament since 2008.
“I would say we’re getting very tired of having Monday finals,” stated U.S. Open tournament director David Brewer.
However, next year will accommodate some relief with a day’s gap between the semifinal and final guaranteed. Whether it requires the shifting of semifinals to Friday or permanently moving the final to Monday is still unknown.
David Brewer revealed he initially intended to start Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer game on another court, in conjunction with the Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych match but reconsidered the decision, citing “we thought the only way to go was to keep them back-to-back.” He sensed the change could serves as an inconvenience for the tournament’s ticket-holders, TV partners and live audience across the globe.
The U.S. Open women’s final was also moved ahead from Saturday and instead Serena Williams will face Victoria Azarenka for the title on Sunday. The women’s final rescheduling is also the fifth consecutive occurrence at the tournament.