Rain-ravaged US Open eyes Monday final
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Rain-ravaged US Open eyes Monday final

US Open officials will make men play four rounds in as many days, and possibly in a Monday final for the first time since 1987.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2003 11:25 IST

US Open officials will make men play four rounds in as many days, and possibly in a Monday final for the first time since 1987, under a revamped schedule for the rain-ravaged event announced Wednesday.

Showers drenched the Grand Slam tennis gathering for the third day in a row here Wednesday. Only three matches have been completed since Sunday and heavy rain is forecast Thursday, after which skies are predicted to clear for a week.

ATP and WTA Tour officials met with global broadcasters and US Tennis Association officials for 2 1/2 hours to develop a plan that would have only two players looking at more than one match a day on the way to the finals.

The plan has men's quarter-finals Friday, semi-finals Saturday and the final on Sunday while women would play the semi-finals in a special Friday night session and the final Saturday night.

But that relies upon finishing men's fourth round and women's quarter-final matches Thursday. If rain reigns again, men are looking at a Monday final.

"Let's get a Monday final going. I don't see why not," US fourth seed Andy Roddick said. "It could compromise the quality of the tennis if we play four straight days, but that's not my decision to make."

That choice belonged to Arlen Kantarian, USTA president, who found the pain of a possible Monday men's final easier to swallow than the potential for men's players having to play two best-of-five matches in a single day.

"Certainly it's not desirable. It's very disappointing," Kantarian said of a Monday final. "We have less viewers watching the talent out here on a Monday or Tuesday."

World number one Andre Agassi has a huge edge in his bid for a ninth Grand Slam title as a result. On Tuesday, Agassi reached the quarter-finals, a match he will not play until Friday or Saturday versus a foe who played a day before.

"It would be really tough. It would be tough on everybody," said Agassi, the oldest man here at 33. "It's hard for all the guys. I have to hopefully deal with it better than my opponent."

While disdaining the phrase "crisis mode", Kantarian called the situation "challenging" and admitted changes are possible, saying, "This is a rolling calendar at this point that is changing to a large degree by the hour."

First Published: Sep 04, 2003 11:25 IST