Rain delays start of play at U.S. Open
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rain delayed the start of play at the U.S. Open on Wednesday, raising the prospect that the season's last grand slam could spill into a third week for a fifth successive year.
Tournament officials were hoping to get the playing schedule back on track after four singles matches were left unfinished on Tuesday because of rain but a morning shower prevented an early start to the action.
There was a glimmer of hope play might begin when the drizzle briefly stopped an hour after the scheduled start and Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli, who completed just four games of their quarter-final the previous day, strolled on to the Arthur Ashe Stadium center court.
The pair began warming up but were forced to run for cover and retreat back to the players' room when the storms returned before they had the chance to recommence their clash.
An additional seven singles matches, including three unfinished men's fourth round encounters, were scheduled to be played Wednesday but the prospects of them being completed were bleak with downpours forecast for the rest of the day and week.
The tournament is due to finish on Sunday but in each of the last four years the men's final was delayed until the Monday due to foul weather, triggering an annual debate and complaints from players and spectators over why the courts are not covered.
The center courts at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon have retractable roofs while organizers of the French Open have announced plans to cover up their main court.
Earlier this year, the United States Tennis Association said they would begin major renovations at Flushing Meadows but ruled out building a roof because of the enormous cost of covering Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest tennis stadium in the world.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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