Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rain plays havoc with second day of play

Only nine matches started at Open, but none come close to completion

August 30, 2006


— Amelie Mauresmo wiped raindrops from her face, and Lleyton Hewitt nearly skidded into a split as bad weather played havoc with the U.S. Open on a stop-and-go Tuesday.

All 64 matches on the schedule were pushed back to today, as was a remembrance of Hurricane Katrina on the one-year anniversary. The forecast called for morning showers.

Only nine matches started, and that was after a 31â2-hour rain delay. None of them came close to completion.

The top-seeded Mauresmo won her opening set against unheralded Kristina Barrois, 6-1, but was trailing 2-5 in the second when play was halted for a second time. About five hours later, organizers gave up on them resuming Tuesday.

"It can be tough when you're waiting around all day," said 13th-seeded Mary Pierce, who was supposed to play Elena Vesnina of Russia. "Sometimes you have to be ready in 20 minutes after you've been waiting for hours."

Mauresmo was scheduled to start at Arthur Ashe Stadium about 11 hours after Andre Agassi finished off his first-round win over Andrei Pavel at 12:30 a.m.

Mauresmo was hoping to add a third Grand Slam title this year, having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Barrois was making her U.S. Open debut, and had said her goal was to move into the top 100.

Only a few thousand fans were in Ashe when that match began. Those sitting in the upper deck were allowed to move down to the lower, pricey seats. That didn't stop them from booing, however, when play was stopped.

Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open champion, and Albert Montanes were tied at 5 in the first set when it was suspended. That came right after Hewitt's right foot slid on the slippery baseline and he almost went into a split.

Other players who managed to get on court included 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, up-and-coming French teen Gael Monfils and Americans Meghann Shaughnessy and Jamea Jackson.

The U.S. Open's official Media Operations Guide said a session must be called by 5 p.m. if play does not start. Once it begins, it's up to tournament officials. The cutoff for the night session was 9:45 p.m. The last time an entire session was called off at the Open was 2004.

With so many matches running behind, the practice courts were jammed. Often, four players shared the same surface, simultaneously keeping two balls in play by hitting to the opposite corners.

"There's not much you can do, and there's not a lot of places you can go," Pierce said. "I just try to stay in the locker room and make sure that I drink, that I eat, rest, take naps, read.

"It's good training for your patience," she said.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.