Tennis: US Open set to start on time after surviving hurricance

After Hurricane Irene failed to inflict her predicted severe beating on New York, US Open organisers are hopeful the opening day’s play at the year’s final grand slam can proceed almost as planned.

Today’s schedule was very much in the balance until the damage caused by the storm, which hit the city yesterday, could be evaluated, and the news was mostly good.

Flushing Meadows suffered only minimal damage, with the areas immediately around the venue in Queens affected by minor flooding and a few fallen trees, but it is the effect on New York’s transport system that has persuaded organisers to alter the order of play.

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Organisers are hopeful play will be able to start on time at 11.00am (4.00pm BST) on most of the courts but Arthur Ashe Stadium will not see its first match until 1.00pm, while the Grandstand court and Court 17 will also have a delayed start.

Britain’s Heather Watson, who on her debut at the tournament will take on third seed Maria Sharapova, is the second match due on Arthur Ashe. Scotland’s Andy Murray is due to play tomorrow or Wednesday depending on results.