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US Open 2021 tennis – Bizarre scenes on Louis Armstrong as rain from Hurricane Ida delays match despite roof

US Open 2021 tennis - Bizarre scenes on Louis Armstrong as rain from Hurricane Ida delays match despite roof

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Even a roof was not enough to prevent play getting stopped at the US Open as heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Ida lashed New York.

The tropical storm prompted the first-ever flash-flood emergency warning for New York City from the National Weather Service, with subways flooded and all travel banned until Thursday morning.

It might have been expected that play on the two courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with retractable roofs would be unaffected, but that was not the case.

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The second-round match between Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson started just before 7:30pm local time and did not finish until after 1am — and on a different court.

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The problem arose because Louis Armstrong Stadium, where the match started, is fitted with a naturally ventilated roof. The strong winds from the storm meant rain was getting blown onto the court through the gaps between the concourse and the roof.

That led to bizarre scenes of fans putting umbrellas up and play getting paused at 5-5 in the first set as the court was dried. Air blowers were brought on court as the match was interrupted again, before it was suspended early in the second set.

“You guys call me when you’re ready to play tennis,” said former finalist Anderson as he left the court.

Over on Arthur Ashe, there was loud noise as the rain pounded against the roof, but importantly nothing got down to the court. That meant Stefanos Tsitsipas and Adrian Mannarino were able to complete their match, with Tsitsipas winning in four sets.

Schwartzman and Anderson then wasted little time in getting on and completed their match in dry conditions, with the Argentine winning in straights.

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The final scheduled match on Armstrong, between Angelique Kerber and Anhelina Kalinina, was postponed until Thursday.

“I was ready to play and I wanted to finish today, not finish tomorrow,” said Schwartzman.

Fans take cover from the rain on Louis Armstrong

Image credit: Getty Images

“You never know what can happen. I was trying to push…to play tonight. I am very happy and I was able to play my best tennis in the last two sets. He served better on Arthur Ashe, but I was able to take my opportunities and my second serve held up.”

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Schwartzman, who has made the quarter-finals twice in New York, will next face Alex Molcan. Earlier in the day, more than 20 doubles matches were postponed as the rain rolled in.

Tsitsipas, who was booed by the crowd after taking another lengthy bathroom break between sets, joked that he might stay at the stadium rather than brave the weather.

“I could hear [the rain]. At first I thought it was the crowd, just people talking on the back seats. I just realised it was not the crowd, it was the rain. Just a lot of noise coming from up there…I do have a bed here, so I might have a sleepover here tonight.”

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