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U.S. Open moves up first men's semifinal because of storm fears
NEW YORK -- In the not-too-distant future, there could be a retractable roof on the U.S. Open's main stadium, and organizers won't have to worry about tropical storms the way they were worrying Friday.
"It's a matter of 'when,' not 'if," a dome will be added to Arthur Ashe Stadium, said Arlen Kantarian, the U.S. Tennis Association's CEO for professional tennis. "It's the right next thing to do."
The USTA has looked into the possibility of adding a roof in the past but rejected the project as too costly. A recent new study suggests it could be done now because of lighter materials that could be used.
"We're hearing it's a lot more feasible," Kantarian said. "We're a bit more optimistic."
The Australian Open already has retractable roofs over its two main courts, and Wimbledon is due to have one in place next year.
"Wimbledon announced in '03 having one in place in '09," Kantarian said. "Will it take that long? I don't think so."
Because Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to bring heavy rain and wind to the New York area Saturday, the start of the U.S. Open men's semifinals were moved up to an hour earlier that day. The tournament was also preparing to delay the men's final a day until Monday if needed.
The men's semifinals will start Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, instead of noon.
If rain forces the postponement of both of the men's semifinals and the women's final, which is scheduled for Saturday night, those matches would be rescheduled for Sunday. The men's semifinals would begin at 1 p.m., and the women's final would be slated for 9 p.m. In that case, the men's final would be rescheduled from Sunday until Monday at 4 p.m.
If the men's semifinals are completed Saturday, but the women's final is not, then the tournament plans to play both championship matches Sunday. One would begin at 5 p.m., the other at 9 p.m.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press