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CAPE TOWN – South African Kevin Anderson was blown away by the imperious Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, who won their US Open second-round clash 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4 in a weather-delayed match bizarrely played on two courts after it started on Wednesday and ended on Thursday.
The players started Wednesday's match on the show court, the Louis Armstrong Stadium at 7.30pm (local time), and was completed on the premier court, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, on Thursday, just after 1am. By then, the match had suffered three breaks in play.
The actual playing time was just under three hours but was eventually completed in just over five and half hours, spread across two days.
The problem started after 10 games in the first set when scores were tied at 5-5, and the remnants of the tropical storm Hurricane Ida started sweeping through New York City. Over the past few days, the USA have been in the throes of a cyclone that battered large parts of the country, and left a trail of destruction.
With apologies for contributing to New York City Weather Twitter — it is so windy and rainy right now that this is the scene at one of the US Open’s COVERED stadiums. All this is just coming in through the windows and gates. pic.twitter.com/wZHJCNP34n
— Teddy Goff (@teddygoff) September 2, 2021
The rain bucketed down on Louis Armstrong Stadium roof. It then found its way, with the help of gale-force winds, into the arena via openings that were designed to maintain ventilation.
In no time, the water spilt onto the playing surface, causing the first interruption. After the court was dried with towels, play continued until Schwartzman slipped in the first-set tiebreak.
After the court was wiped down with towels, play continued, but 10 minutes later, the umpires suspended the game, and the play was interrupted for the third time.
It was then decided that the match would be moved to the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was available because the Stefanos Tsitsipas – Adrian Mannarino tie had been completed.
From that point onwards, the diminutive world number 14 Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, made light work of the tie. He blitzed through the second set in 43 minutes after securing a break of serve in the eighth game before serving out for the set, which he won 6-3.
He took less time in the third set after the unseeded Anderson, world-ranked 77, dropped serve in the seventh game. The win moved Schwartzman to 3-all in the head-to-head score.
The 2017 US Open finalist Anderson cracked 24 aces in the match, but it failed to make an impact. Schwartzman's aggressive return of serve ability proved decisive in the end. The unforced error count 58-21 also contributed heavily to Anderson's demise.