Rafael Nadal and a few other players were playing tennis inside the rainproof confines of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday – but almost all the other matches were postponed until Wednesday.
That included Genie Bouchard against Evgeniya Rodina on the Grandstand and Vasek Pospisil versus Fernando Verdasco on Court 14.
Nadal, top seed among the men, advanced with a 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-2 win over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia attired in a neon-pink top and headband.
Bouchard, who has not previously played the No. 89-ranked Russian, will be hoping to advance to the second round after a tough 2016 at Flushing Meadows when she was beaten 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round by No. 72-ranked Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic.
With all the disruptions, the No. 76-ranked Bouchard’s match will now be played first thing at 11 a.m. on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It’ll be the first time she has played in Arthur Ashe since a win over Barbora Strycova in the third round in 2014 – the year she reached the Wimbledon final.
Pospisil will now play his opening-round on Court 15, which unfortunately is not a television court – something that seems hard to believe in this modern age of Grand Slam tennis.
This is the 26-year-old Pospisil’s sixth US Open and he has a match record of 2-5. As for the 33-year-old Verdasco, he’s playing in New York for the 15th year in a row – his best results being quarter-finals in 2009 and 2010.
Now ranked No. 43, Verdasco defeated Pospisil 7-5, 6-0 in their only other encounter – in Doha in February.
SHAPOVALOV IN THE BIG HOUSE
Denis Shapovalov makes his debut on a Grand Slam centre court when he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in an Arthur Ashe Stadium second-round match on Wednesday night – second match after Oceane Dodin of France vs. Venus Williams.
The world No. 69 will be playing No. 12-ranked Tsonga for the first time.
Tsonga has a 23-8 record at the US Open and has performed well there recently – losing last year in the quarter-finals 6-3, 6-2 ret. (knee) to Novak Djokovic, and also in 2015 in the quarter-finals, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4 to defending champion Marin Cilic. In 2014, he was beaten 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 in the round-of-16 by Andy Murray.
The 32-year-old Frenchman’s victory over Marius Copil of Romania on Monday was his first win since a third-round exit at Wimbledon, which came just three months after he and his partner Noura celebrated the arrival of their first child – a son named Shugar.
Speaking about playing Shapovalov, new papa Tsonga said, “he’s really progressed at 18 years old. He’s full of the exuberance of his 18 years and he’ll be hyper-hungry. It’s a challenge for me to have a chance to beat a future great.
“He’s really hot at the moment and very aggressive with his game – he’s always moving forward and likes to play on his own terms.”
Shapovalov confirmed what Tsonga had suggested and pretty well laid out his own approach when he said, “obviously he (Tsonga) has a huge forehand, a very solid backhand. I think I’m going to have to pressure the backhand a bit more, come in on him a lot – just try to dictate before he has a chance to.”
Shapovalov, 18, is the current rising star of tennis and the fans who gathered around him as he exited Court 7 on Monday were obviously keenly – maybe too keenly – aware of that.
NESTOR IN DOUBLES DEBUT
Daniel Nestor will be playing in his 24th US Open doubles event when he and partner Dominic Inglot of Britain take on the Russian pairing of Mikhail Eglin and Daniil Medvedev in the first round.
That’s Nestor with Inglot on left and Louis Cayer, the Canadian who now works for the (British) Lawn Tennis Association as a doubles expert, in the middle of the picture here.
Nestor has one Grand Slam title at the US Open – that was in 2004 with long-time partner Mark Knowles. He is currently ranked No. 42, with the last time he was outside the top-40 being on May 29, 2000.
Celebrating his 45th birthday on Monday, there’s speculation about whether this could be his final US Open or even his final Grand Slam. But that’s nothing new for Nestor.
Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, is playing the final Grand Slam tournament of her career at this year’s US Open.
Leading 6-0, 2-4, she will complete her first-round match on Wednesday against qualifier Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian, now ranked No. 418, has been as high No. 15 in 2012 but has been on and off the tour for several years with Epstein-Barr virus.
Schiavone’s win over Sam Stosur in the championship match was one of the most celebrated at Roland Garros – her game, rambunctious style and diminutive frame charming the Court Philippe Chatrier faithful.
Now 37 and ranked a respectable No. 77, her apparent plans are to move to Florida and be involved with a tennis academy there.
NEW YORK POST CARD
One of New York’s better known landmarks, the Unisphere was incorporated into the construction of Arthur Ashe Stadium in 1978 so that it lines up perfectly with the main entrance to the stadium. The Unisphere was originally built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair and is 120 feet in diameter and weighs 350 tonnes.
It’s an impressive sight, especially when its fountains are in full flow.