The U.S. Open men's final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic was postponed because of rain Sunday, marking the third consecutive year that the season's last Grand Slam tournament won't finish on schedule.
Nadal and Djokovic were supposed to begin playing at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, but showers began more than 1½ hours earlier and hadn't stopped by 6:15 p.m., when tournament officials decided to call it a night. They rescheduled the match to start no earlier than 4 p.m. Monday.
The third-seeded Djokovic warmed up on a practice court beside Arthur Ashe Stadium as drops fell at about 3 p.m. and he probably didn't mind the wait until Monday. That's because he reached the final with a grueling five-set victory over Roger Federer on Saturday, while Nadal won his earlier semifinal in straight sets.
This marks the first three-year string of delayed finishes at the tournament since the men's and women's singles competitions were combined and played at the same site in 1935.
Before 2008, the U.S. Open men's final hadn't been pushed to Monday since 1987.
Monday's forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.
The women's doubles final was stopped Sunday with Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova three points from victory while leading 5-4 in the third set against Vania King and Yaroslava Shedova. That was scheduled to resume Monday at 3 p.m. weather permitting, of course.
The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that schedules its men's singles semifinals and finals on back-to-back days, which could have proved to be a disadvantage for Djokovic.
After Saturday's win, Djokovic was told about the possibility of rain Sunday. He opened his eyes wide and rubbed his hands together.
"I don't know the rituals, how to invite the rain," he said. "An extra day would be great."
Well, he gets it. The top-seeded Nadal, meanwhile, will have to wait at least a day for his shot at history. Playing in his first U.S. Open final, the Spaniard is seeking to become the seventh man in tennis history to complete a career Grand Slam.
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