US Open 2016 Day 3: Stadium Roof Closes As Rafael Nadal Beats Andreas Seppi, Muguruza Crashes Out
The U.S. Open closed its brand-new, $150 million retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York, during a match for the first time Wednesday night.
Rafael Nadal Beats Andreas Seppi, Muguruza Crashes Out
The shutting of the roof — which happened due to rain — resulted in a suspension of play of less than 7 1/2 minutes at 3-all during the second set of Rafael Nadal’s 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 second-round victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
“I feel that the conditions are pretty similar when the roof is closed or open,” Nadal said afterward.
The 30-year-old Spaniard will now advance to play Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the third round.
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The most evident difference between the stadium’s roof being open and closed was the amount of ambient noise– coming from spectators, mostly– that could be heard during points.
U.S. Tennis Association Executive Director Gordon Smith said tournament organizers would work to solve that.
“This is New York. And yes, there’s crowd noise. And yes, we want the crowds to come, we want them to be excited. We want them to cheer. And we think that over time the fans will adjust and the players will adjust,” Smith said. “It’s obvious there’s going to be more noise in a trapped environment than in an open environment.”
The USTA built a retractable roof after years of dealing with rain delays that have caused matches to be postponed. The first two days of this year’s tournament– Monday and Tuesday– however, were dry.
“It took well over 10 years to come up with a solution to do this that was affordable, was architecturally imaginative, that was cost-effective, that was efficient. But we did it,” Smith said. “To see it work flawlessly was really incredible.”
The USTA has stated that, based on pre-tournament testing, the expectation is there will be little difference in terms of playing conditions whether the roof is open or closed.
The only other time the roof had been used this year before Nadal’s match came when it was shut at the start of the tournament’s opening ceremony Monday night, then opened while Phil Collins sang ‘In the Air Tonight.’
The U.S. Open men’s final was postponed in five straight years due to rainy weather from 2008 to 2012.
One of the biggest upsets of Day 3 was 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza: the third-seeded Spaniard fell to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.
Madison Keys, meanwhile, finished her second-round match much earlier than her first. The 21-year-old eighth-seeded American routed 16-year-old countrywoman Kayla Day 6-1, 6-1 in 48 minutes on Wednesday. Day, the youngest player in the draw, was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament. Ranked 374th, she qualified as the winner of the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships. In the first round, she was leading 6-2, 4-2 when her opponent, Madison Brengle, retired with an arm injury. Keys hasn’t lost before the third round at a major since the 2014 U.S. Open.
The 26-year-old Sevastova, who reached the round of 16 at the 2011 Australian Open, retired in May 2013 because of a series of injuries, mostly to her back. She returned in January 2015.
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 31: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Andreas Seppi of Italy during his second round Men’s Singles match on Day Three of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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