NEW YORK - Defending champion Andy Murray was plunged into a nightmare US Open scheduling scenario on a rain-ravaged Wednesday in New York in which two-time champion Venus Williams slid to defeat.
Third seed Murray had been slated to play his first match almost 48 hours after second seed Rafael Nadal — viewed as the most likely to triumph this year — had started his campaign on Monday.
However, Murray's scheduled 7pm (local time) start on the Arthur Ashe Stadium was pushed back because of a four-hour rain suspension.
That delay was made worse when 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez became bogged down in a first-round dogfight in the same arena. The Argentine sixth seed prevailed 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (9-7).
It was a development which would have only served to darken Wimbledon champion Murray's already tetchy response to his Wednesday start against French veteran Michael Llodra.