A reign delay for Nadal?

For 3rd year in row, men's final pushed to Monday

September 13, 2010|By Tribune newspapers

NEW YORK — If you wanted to see Rafael Nadal play Roger Federer in the U.S. Open men's final this year, you will not.

If you wanted to see a men's final between Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Sunday, you did not.

Blame Jack Sock for the first part and rain for the second.

For the third straight year, the men's final will be on a Monday. The match between the top-seeded Nadal and third-seeded Djokovic will begin, weather permitting, at 4 p.m.

Sunday's match was called after a light rain that began early Sunday afternoon was still falling at 6:15 and without any optimistic expectations for a break.

The postponed final will be televised by CBS.

A match that was completed Sunday was the junior men's final, and it was won by Sock, a kid from Nebraska who is partial to the Cornhuskers and backward baseball caps and who can't decide whether to go to college or join the ATP Tour.

On Saturday, before Djokovic swarmed over Federer with an unexpected bundle of dramatic, fifth-set winning groundstrokes, he was warmed up by the 17-year-old Sock.

On Sunday, Sock used his skills for his own good.

In the first all-American junior men's final since Andy Roddick, another Nebraska native, beat Robbie Ginepri, Sock beat Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

If that was a bright spot for the future of U.S. tennis, what happened over the weekend was not.

Saturday's prime-time women's final was a 59-minute demolition of Vera Zvonareva by Kim Clijsters. Then Djokovic spoiled the party with his dramatic upset of Federer.

Since 1978, the worst-rated men's finals were 2008's Monday finish between Federer and Andy Murray, which had a 1.7 rating, and last year's final between Federer and Juan Martin del Potro (2.3).

After his win over Federer on Saturday, Djokovic was excited when told there was rain in the Sunday forecast.

"I don't know the rituals, how to invite the rain," he said. "An extra day would be great."

Nadal probably didn't appreciate the delay as much. The 24-year-old Spaniard is aiming for his first U.S. Open title and his chance to become the seventh man in history to win each of the four Grand Slam events.

Even though the Open is usually not averse to playing late matches USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said that the early cancellation came because of the forecast and because many fans had been on the grounds several hours.

dpucin@tribune.com

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