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Rain postpones women's semifinals at U.S. Open

More bad weather is forecast for Saturday, though. Officials are still hoping Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez can finish their quarterfinal match today.

September 12, 2009|Diane Pucin

NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal was playing foosball in the players' lounge Friday afternoon. Caroline Wozniacki was playing games on her laptop. Kim Clijsters wandered in and out of the lounge, saying at one point, "This is just what you have to deal with. Nobody likes it but it happens."

What happens? Rain happens.

And because of the rain, which had moved in Thursday night, there will now be a U.S. Open men's tennis final (at least) on Monday for the second year in a row.

The losers in all this rainy-day angst could be the winner of the men's quarterfinal between third-seeded Rafael Nadal and 11th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez, and the Open's television exposure.

Nadal and Gonzalez were interrupted by rain Thursday night with Nadal leading, 7-6 (4), 6-6 and 3-2 in the tiebreaker, while top-seeded Roger Federer and fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic had won their quarterfinals on Wednesday and have been resting comfortably.

The newest schedule has Nadal and Gonzalez on at 9 a.m. PDT today followed by the men's doubles final, then a women's semifinal between ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and unseeded Yanina Wickmayer and finally a 5 p.m. semifinal between defending champion and second-seeded Serena Williams and former No. 1-ranked Kim Clijsters. This whole program will be on Channel 2.

But the Sunday schedule is less television friendly. CBS traditionally televises the men's final after its 10 a.m. NFL game.

Instead of being on CBS during prime time Saturday evening, the women's final will be at 6 p.m. PDT Sunday on ESPN2. Also, one men's semifinal will be at 9 a.m. PDT Sunday on ESPN2. The second will be at 1 p.m. PDT on Channel 2. Besides Federer-Djokovic, sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro will play the winner of the Nadal-Gonzalez quarterfinal.

The order of the men's semifinals won't be determined until after today's men's quarterfinal is completed. Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the Open, said all four men's semifinalists would prefer to play in the early Sunday semifinal in order to have extra rest for the Monday final.

On Monday, the men's final will be at 1 p.m. PDT on Channel 2 while the women's doubles final, into which Venus and Serena Williams have already advanced, will precede it at 10 a.m. PDT on ESPN2.

Friday's original plan had been for Williams and Clijsters to have played at 9:30 a.m. PDT with Nadal and Gonzalez next and then Wozniacki and Wickmayer as the third match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

As the bad weather stretched into afternoon, the schedule changed to have Williams and Clijsters at Ashe; Nadal and Gonzalez at Louis Armstrong Stadium and Wozniacki and Wickmayer on the Grandstand simultaneously.

But by 5, with the rain still falling, it was announced the women wouldn't play at all Friday and that if Nadal and Gonzalez continued, it would be at Ashe. An hour later Nadal and Gonzalez were released from the grounds.

Sometimes the best way to keep up with the changing plans Friday was to monitor Twitter. Before the final marching orders were given, Serena posted this message: "They canceled my match for today! U all have to wait until tomorrow!! . . . I love u all for sticking around to watch!! XXX S."

There are no plans to add a roof to Ashe Stadium or any other courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, though feasibility studies have been conducted.

Wimbledon debuted a roof on Centre Court this year. It was needed, barely, once.

--

diane.pucin@latimes.com

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