Noise no prob­lem for sound Mur­ray

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Howard Fendrich

NEW YORK — When heavy rain be­gan pelt­ing the closed roof atop Arthur Ashe Sta­dium, Andy Mur­ray couldn’t pick up the usual sounds of a ten­nis match.

Most im­por­tantly, he said, the thwack of a ball com­ing off his op­po­nent’s racket — or his own, for that mat­ter — was com­pletely in­dis­cernible dur­ing a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 sec­ond-round vic­tory over Mar­cel Gra­nollers Thurs­day at the U.S. Open.

As it is, the $150 mil­lion re­tractable cover mak­ing its tour­na­ment de­but this week makes the main sta­dium louder be­cause the struc­ture, even when open, traps the sounds of spec­ta­tors chatting in the stands. When it’s shut, the roof am­pli­fies all of that am­bi­ent noise.

And when the drops came down early in Mur­ray’s sec­ond set — well, it was as loud as can be.

“You can’t hear any­thing,” the 2012 U.S. Open cham­pion said. “We use our ears when we play; it’s not just the eyes. (The sound) helps us pick up the speed of the ball, the spin that’s on the ball, how hard some­one’s hit­ting it.

“If we played with head­phones on, it would be a big ad­van­tage if your op­po­nent wasn’t wear­ing them. You can still do it, but it’s harder for sure.”

At least Mur­ray, Gra­nollers and some oth­ers were able to play. Rain has of­ten been a sched­ule wrecker at the U.S. Open — the men’s fi­nal was post­poned ev­ery year from 2008-12. Thurs­day’s wet weather lim­ited ac­tion around the grounds un­til early evening.

Win­ners in­cluded Venus Wil­liams, who beat Ju­lia Go­erges 6-2, 6-3, and No. 5 Si­mona Halep, who elim­i­nated Lu­cie Sa­farova 6-3, 6-4 in a meet­ing be­tween past French Open fi­nal­ists that was the first con­test played en­tirely with the roof closed.

No. 1 seed Ser­ena Wil­liams, seek­ing a record­break­ing 23rd Slam ti­tle, beat Va­nia King 6-3. 6-3.

Men ad­vanc­ing in­cluded No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 8 Dominic Thiem.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 cham­pion, beat 19th-seeded Steve John­son 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-2 in an evening match.

ED­UARDO MUNOZ AL­VAREZ/GETTY-AFP

Sec­ond-seeded Andy Mur­ray reaches for a fore­hand in his straight-sets vic­tory over Mar­cel Gra­nollers on Thurs­day.

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