NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The start of play at the US Open was delayed on Thursday (Sept 2), a day after remnants of Hurricane Ida brought torrential rains and high winds to the grounds, flooding roads and interrupting one match that was being played under a roof.
The powerful storm led the National Weather Service to declare a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time in history, with at least nine deaths reported in the region.
Day Four's first matches began at noon, an hour after the normal start time.
Fans and players faced challenges in getting to Flushing Meadows in Queens, where the year's final Grand Slam is held.
Nearly all New York City subway lines were suspended due to flooding overnight, though some service had been restored as of Thursday morning, and widespread road closures remained.
The three major commuter train lines that serve the New York region were either suspended or experiencing delays.
In mid-town Manhattan, where most players stay during the tournament, players, tournament staff and media members lined up in the morning sun to wait for shuttle buses to transport them to the tennis centre.
As of late morning, the drive to Queens took more than two hours due to detours because of storm damage.
At Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday, strong winds blew rain sideways into the court despite the retractable roof, forcing Diego Schwartzman to finish his win over Kevin Anderson at Arthur Ashe Stadium after a lengthy delay.
"Crazy weather," the Argentine said after the match concluded around 1am.
The driving rain turned pedestrian plazas into rivers, with debris flying and umbrellas little match for the fierce winds.
The second-round match between former champion Angelique Kerber and Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina, originally scheduled to begin after Schwartzman and Anderson, was pushed back to Thursday, along with dozens of other matches that could not be completed due to the rain.
Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty are scheduled to play their second-round matches on Thursday.