U.S. Open 2016: Andy Murray, Venus Williams win under new roof

    Story highlights

    • Murray beats Marcel Granollers
    • Improves to 7-1 against Spaniard
    • Roof used due to rain in New York
    • Venus Williams, Simona Halep progress

    (CNN)The new roof at the U.S. Open is being put to good use.

    Organizers used the roof -- build at a cost of $150 million -- for the first time in tournament history in Wednesday's night session but it proved especially beneficial Thursday after rain hit New York in the morning and afternoon.
      In years past, the precipitation would have meant no play at all at the year's final major, prompting reruns -- for TV viewers -- of old matches. However, cover over Arthur Ashe stadium ensured the action wasn't significantly disrupted on the biggest regularly used tennis court in the world.
      Play on outer courts was, mind you, severely affected.
      Andy Murray usually plays on center court wherever he goes and the Scot was no doubt thrilled to be given a slot on Arthur Ashe stadium given the gloomy forecast.
      Murray has appeared in the three previous grand slam finals this season -- winning Wimbledon in July -- and is the most in-form player in tennis, having also won singles gold at the Olympics last month. This while world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, affected by wrist and arm injuries, has cooled.
      Murray progressed to the third round by beating Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-1 6-4 in a competitive 2 1/2 hour contest that featured extended rallies and more than a few drop shots from the Spaniard.
      Murray -- who won the U.S. Open in 2012 after claiming the junior title in 2004 -- enjoyed his time under the roof although it took the second seed a while to get used to the rain pelting down on the roof.
      "I didn't know what it was at the beginning," Murray told Eurosport. "Neither of us did and then obviously when (we) realized it was the rain there's nothing you can do about that. It's so loud. I've never played like that before.
      "You can't hear the ball. Tennis players do pick up the sound of the ball to read the spins a little bit earlier and the speed of the serve, so it makes it tricky.
      "It's something that you need to adjust to and get used to. After a few games it was okay but at the start it's tricky."
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      Simona Halep began play on Ashe and in another entertaining tussle, defeated fellow French Open finalist Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-4.
      "I had a nice feeling," Halep told reporters. "It was a great experience to be there. I didn't have to wait for the rain, so that's a good thing."
      Halep is considered one of only a sprinkling of players able to challenge Serena Williams for the women's title, with the list dwindling after Garbine Muguruza -- who beat Williams in the French Open final -- was upset Wednesday. The Romanian is 19-2 in her last 21 matches.
      Could Venus Williams win a first major in eight years? There's still plenty of tennis to be played in New York but the 36-year-old remains in contention after easing past Germany's Julia Goerges 6-2 6-3 to end the day session on Ashe. She will be buoyed by her performance at Wimbledon, having achieved a grand slam semifinal for the first time since 2010.
      Among winners on the outer courts when the rain relented were 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori and French Open semifinalist Dominic Thiem.
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