NEW YORK — At one point, Andy Roddick looked up and saw a fan scaling a chain-link fence behind tiny Court 13, hoping to catch a peek of the 2003 U.S. Open champion's victory Thursday.
At another point, a baby's loud cries provided a distraction at the 584-seat venue.
"At least," Roddick deadpanned later, "there wasn't a baby crying on the fence."
It was that sort of day at this most unusual U.S. Open.
Rain finally gave way to sun, but chaos still managed to reign. A crack near a baseline in the tournament's second-biggest stadium let water seep through, halting Roddick's already twice-delayed match against David Ferrer until they were moved to a court often used by juniors.
And because of showers earlier this week, the U.S. Tennis Association extended the tournament, delaying the men's final by 24 hours to Monday at 4 p.m. EDT. The women's final was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday at 4 p.m.
Amid all of Thursday's goings-on — which also included complaints about the schedule both before and after it was changed; talk by Roddick and others about forming a union; and treatment by a trainer for both No. 1 Novak Djokovic and his opponent, who eventually quit, then apologized to Djokovic — at least there was plenty of tennis played, quite a change from Tuesday's total washout and Wednesday's 15 minutes of action.
Roddick, defending champion Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and John Isner all won to reach the quarterfinals. On the other side of the men's draw, Djokovic got to the semifinals, while Roger Federer's nighttime quarterfinal was — surprise! — delayed by rain in the first set. Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur and Angelique Kerber filled the four spots in the women's semifinals.
Given the delays, the 21st-seeded Roddick was eager to get going against the fifth-seeded Ferrer somewhere — anywhere, really.
They got in less than 10 minutes Thursday before Roddick pointed out a damp spot in Louis Armstrong Stadium that made it too dangerous to play. He and Ferrer headed back to the locker room while workers spent an hour trying to dry the area. At 12:30 p.m., the players returned with tournament referee Brian Earley to inspect the area.
Roddick pointed out that the spot still was wet and said to Earley, "Can you tell us why you brought us out here? ... How hard is it to not see water? ... What are we doing here?"
Roddick, Ferrer and Earley then spoke in a hallway of the 10,103-seat Armstrong stadium.
"Put us on 13. Thirteen's open. Let's go play. I don't care where we play," Roddick said.
Within minutes, the decision was made to switch courts, sending fans running and pushing their ways over to the metal bleachers at Court 13, and the match eventually resumed a little before 1 p.m.
Not much more than two hours later, Roddick was high-fiving front-row spectators after wrapping up his 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory.