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 his 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 unusual U.S. Open.
Rain finally gave way to sun after two days of washed-out matches and only 15 minutes of play, but chaos still reigned. 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 the showers, the U.S. Tennis Association extended the tournament, delaying the men's final by 24 hours, to Monday. The women's final was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.
Amid Thursday's goings-on — which also included complaints about the schedule before and after it was changed; talk by Roddick and other players about forming a union; and treatment by a trainer for Novak Djokovic and his opponent, who eventually quit, then apologized to Djokovic — plenty of tennis was played.
Roddick, defending champion Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Tampa resident John Isner won to reach the quarterfinals, Isner for the first time in a Grand Slam. On the other side of the draw, top seed Djokovic got to the semis, and Roger Federer's nighttime quarterfinal with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was — surprise! — delayed by rain. It eventually resumed, and Federer won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Serena Williams, top seed Caroline Wozniacki, Tampa resident Sam Stosur and Angelique Kerber made the women's semis, which were moved from today to Saturday night.
The 21st-seeded Roddick and fifth-seeded Ferrer got in less than 10 minutes of play before Roddick pointed out a damp spot in Louis Armstrong Stadium that made the court 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?"
As he walked to the sideline, Roddick shook his head and said: "I'm baffled right now. Absolutely baffled." He shoved his racket in his bag and walked off the court as some fans jeered.
"The court was no good," Ferrer, a Spaniard, said later. "Andy's reaction was normal. If I didn't have the same reaction it's because I don't speak good English."
Roddick, Ferrer and Earley then spoke in a hallway. "Put us on 13," Roddick said. "Thirteen's open. Let's go play. I don't care where we play."
Within minutes, the decision was made to switch courts, and the match 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.
"I thought the atmosphere was great. People packed in," said Roddick, who plays Nadal next.
Djokovic reached his sixth consecutive major semifinal and improved to 62-2 in 2011, advancing when his opponent, No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic, stopped playing while trailing 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (3-7), 6-0, 3-0. Tipsarevic had his left hamstring bandaged by a trainer at 5-0 in the third set.
Djokovic saw a trainer for treatment on a bloody left big toe after sliding for a drop shot in the fourth set's first game. He and Tipsarevic are friends, and they met for a long hug at the net when Tipsarevic conceded; he said he told Djokovic he was sorry.