Rain falls on Murray US parade, Venus falls
Spectators pull out their umbrellas at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center August 28, 2013 in New York. Defending champion Andy Murray was plunged into a nightmare US Open scheduling scenario on a rain-ravaged Wednesday in New York which saw two-time champion Venus Williams slide to defeat.
Third seed Murray had been slated to play his first match almost 48 hours after second seed Rafael Nadal, viewed as the most likely contender to triumph this year, had started his campaign on Monday.
However, Murray's scheduled 7 p.m. (2300 GMT) start on the Arthur Ashe Stadium was pushed back because of a four-hour rain suspension.
That delay made worse when 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez got bogged down in a first-round dogfight in the same arena.
It was a development which would have only served to darken Wimbledon champion Murray's already tetchy response to his Wednesday start against French veteran Michael Llodra.
"I'm playing my first round match at the US Open at 7pm on a Wednesday...," tweeted Murray on Tuesday in thinly veiled frustration at a schedule which saw even a first-round match in mixed doubles completed before he took the court.
Williams, the US Open champion in 2000 and 2001 and a seven-time Grand Slam singles title winner, went down in a three-hour second round clash to tenacious Chinese player Zheng Jie.
Two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Zheng advanced to the third round by outlasting the Ameerican 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) in a victory she called "unbelievable."
"Today was a tough match for me. It's unbelievable I can beat her," said Zheng, who next faces Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.
As a result of Wednesday's downpours, organizers cancelled eight women's second-round singles matches and 20 doubles matches until Thursday.
One of those held over was the second-round clash between reigning women's champion Serena Williams, chasing a fifth US Open title, and Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.
The rain meant that somes matches that started at 11 in the morning were still being completed as darkness fell.
Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman defeated Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in a first-round tie spread out over eight hours.
Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na managed to beat the rain to reach the third round.
Third-seeded Radwanska defeated Spanish world number 103 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, 6-0, 7-5 while Li, the Chinese fifth seed, beat 100th-ranked Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-2.
Radwanska, who has never got beyond the fourth round, was on course for a quick-fire win over Torro-Flor, her second successive Spanish opponent, when she raced through the first set in just 21 minutes, losing just seven points.
But Torro-Flor, dressed in matching colors of blue and pink, made the Pole work for her win in the second set with three breaks of serve.
Radwanska weathered the unexpected storm, going through to a third-round clash against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, capitalizing on her rival's 38 unforced errors and 10 double faults.
"Played first match and then I'm done. I can just relax, watch the others and do treatment and do whatever I want," said Radwanska, who finished her match just before the rain arrived.
Li, playing in her 30th Grand Slam and a New York quarter-finalist in 2009, clinched her third career win over policeman's daughter Arvidsson, who has now not progressed beyond the second round in seven attempts.
The Chinese star will next face 30th seed Laura Robson in a rematch of their clash in New York 12 months ago which the British player won.
Robson defeated France's Caroline Garcia 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) to book her third round slot.
"I'm going to go out there like I approach every other match and, you know, just try my best on court and try and played my own game," said Robson who was 89 in the world this time last year when she stunned Li.
Later Wednesday, Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion, was to face America's Brian Baker.
Hewitt, now 32 and at 66 in the world, is playing in New York for the 13th time.