Under Closed Roof, Rafa Reigns
Rafa Nadal beats Andreas Seppi - and the rain - at Flushing Meadows
Rafael Nadal showed no interest in a late night out at Flushing Meadows Wednesday, racing away with the first seven games of the match to set up a routine straight-sets victory over Italian veteran Andreas Seppi.
Nadal’s 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 win was overshadowed by the historic closure of the retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time in match play. Eager tournament referee Brian Earley needed little encouragement to close the roof at 10.39 p.m. when the much-anticipated raindrops fell.
"It is great to be the first player to play with the roof closed, in the competition, because I was the first player to hit in the Centre Court with the roof closed," said Nadal. "[There is] no big difference. With the roof open there is no wind at all, so it's not a big change. And the roof is so high you don't feel that you are closed... It's an unbelievable, unbelievable court."
Fans raced to pull out their mobile phones to capture the closing, which happened at a speedy clip of 5 mins., 35 seconds.
Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director, said of the closing: “I thought people would like it. I don’t think anyone went to the bathroom or got a beer. Everyone stayed to watch the roof close. Play was suspended for just seven minutes and 22 seconds and the players didn’t leave the court.”
Fielding questions about crowd noise being amplified by the roof closure, M. Smith said that the USTA was collecting data that would be reviewed.
Back on court, Nadal at times appeared to lack a little confidence with his forehand but at other times produced some of his signature forehand winners.
"Today was a good win," said Nadal. "I feel that I played a little bit more aggressive than in the first round... The last forehand of the match was great. I hit some good forehands down the line again. That's an important shot for me."