It never rains but it pours here at the US Open. Tournament organisers might have thought the worst was over when play resumed after two rain-ruined days but they suffered further embarrassment yesterday when play had to be stopped on their second show court because of a problem with the playing surface.
Andy Roddick and David Ferrer had played only two games after resuming in Louis Armstrong Stadium when water started seeping through the surface behind one of the baselines. The water table is not far below ground level here at the aptly named Flushing Meadows and, as a result of yesterday's warm air, evaporation caused water to form on the surface.
With Roddick leading 4-2, the players left the court as attempts were made to repair the court. In farcical scenes Brian Earley, the tournament referee, tried to soak up the water with a towel and even a vacuum cleaner was used. Roddick, unhappy that the problem had not been identified earlier, told Earley: "I'm really starting to get pissed off. How hard is it not to see water?"
After more than an hour the players returned to the court. However, within moments of the players warming up again Roddick noticed more water on the court and they walked off for a second time. Roddick became involved in another tense exchange with Earley. "Why are we out there?" Roddick asked him. "I'm baffled, absolutely baffled."
The decision was then made to switch the match from Louis Armstrong Stadium, which has a capacity of 10,000, to Court 13, which has seating for just 584 spectators. Roddick, nevertheless, responded in admirable fashion to playing on a court where he had last competed as a junior 12 years ago. He beat Ferrer 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, after which he walked around the court high-fiving an ecstatic crowd. The 2003 champion now meets Rafael Nadal, who beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 7-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Serena Williams maintained her impressive progress, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-1 to set up a semi-final today against Caroline Wozniacki, the world No 1, who beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-6. Sam Stosur maintained her remarkable hold over Vera Zvonareva, the world No 2. The Australian's 6-3, 6-3 win was her eighth in a row against last year's beaten finalist. She faces Germany's Angelique Kerber, the world No 92, who beat Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.