Tornado postpones US Open tennis matches


The US Open women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and the second men’s semi final between David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic have been postponed until Sunday after storm-battered New York was put on tornado watch.

The decision was taken just as the US Weather Service placed the area under tornado watch until 2100 local time (0100GMT), two hours after the scheduled start time of the women’s final.

“The weather forecast for this evening is calling for storms with heavy rain and high winds,” said a tournament spokesman.

“Due to the severe weather forecast, session 25 featuring the Women’s Singles Final will be postponed until Sunday, September 9, 2012. We will confirm the start time for the Women’s Final by 7:00 p.m. ET (2300GMT) this evening.”

It will be the fourth time in five years that the women’s final has been played on the Sunday rather than Saturday.

The men’s singles final has been pushed back to the Monday for the last four years.

Play on Saturday had already been delayed following heavy rain and a tornado warning which had been issued following a twister briefly making landfall on the nearby Rockaway Peninsula.

The first men’s semi-final between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych got underway 90 minutes late on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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But the unabated severe weather conditions caused the second semi final of the US Open to be suspended on Saturday, meaning the men’s singles final will be played on a Monday for a fifth successive year.

With a tornado watch in operation, and violent thunderstorms expected, the second men’s semi-final was suspended at 1711 local time (2111GMT) with Spain’s David Ferrer leading defending champion Novak Djokovoic 5-2 in the first set.

Andy Murray had already made sure of his place in the men’s final earlier Saturday after beating Tomas Berdych.

“Severe weather is coming and we needed to give patrons time to get out of the stadium and into their cars,” said tournament director David Brewer as the Billie Jean King Tennis Center was evacuated.

“The decision was taken to stop play for the day.”

The decision was greeted with boos from the crowd of 20,000 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium and general bemusement at the refusal of the organisers to move the Ferrer-Djokovic match to another court while the weather was still clear.

The semi-final will resume at 1100 Sunday (1500GMT) with the women’s final starting at 1630 (2030GMT).

On Monday, the men’s final will begin at 1600 (2000GMT).

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