NEW YORK — Serena Williams will get an extra day of rest after her match was scrubbed from Wednesday’s schedule at the rainy US Open.
After a rain delay ate up most of the afternoon, tournament officials postponed eight women’s singles matches but kept others on the slate, including the night session involving defending men’s champion Andy Murray and American Sloane Stephens.
Venus Williams returned to the court against Zheng Jie. They had played 2 points before the rain hit and delayed play for about four hours. No. 6 seed Juan Martin del Potro also was back out after the rain delay, up a break early against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
In addition to Serena Williams’s match against Galina Voskoboeva, officials postponed matches involving No. 8 Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Jelena Jankovic, and No. 25 Kaia Kanepi.
Fifth-seeded Li Na got her work done quickly, so when the rain started falling, she had little to worry about.
Li defeated Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2, 6-2, in the day’s first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to the third round. Shortly thereafter, heavy rain came and Li’s only concern was finding an umbrella to cover herself on the walk to the car.
‘‘It’s tough for them,’’ she said, referring to the 58 players who still had singles matches to complete Wednesday. ‘‘For me, just relax all day and do whatever I want.’’
A grand total of five matches were wrapped up before the rain came, including 18th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro’s 6-3, 6-4 victory over American CoCo Vandeweghe and third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska’s 6-0, 7-5 victory over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain.
Radwanska dropped only 7 points during a 21-minute first set, but the second lasted 66 minutes. Long, but not too long.
‘‘Played first match and then I'm done,’’ Radwanska said. ‘‘I can just relax, watch others and do treatment and do whatever I want. Sometimes it’s good to play first, even when I have to wake up really early.’’
Other early winners were 32d-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and, on the men’s side, one-time top-10 player Marcos Baghdatis.
With the storm bearing down, video monitors around the Billie Jean King Tennis Center warned fans to seek shelter and avoid trees because of potential lightning, though thousands of ticket-holders were milling about without much concern for severe weather.
They’re used to this scene.
The year’s final Grand Slam tournament has finished a day late for five straight years because of rain delays.
This year, the US Tennis Association announced it was building a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium as part of a renovation project that will cost $550 million. The roof could be ready by 2016, or 2017 at the latest.
Even that wouldn’t have alleviated a first-week logjam the likes of which the tournament faced Wednesday, with a full slate of matches in singles along with men's, women’s, and mixed doubles.