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By Erik Gudris | Sunday, August 31, 2014

 
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Watching Roger Federer practice and taking in Caroline Wozniacki's big win was all part of the day roaming around the US Open grounds.

Photo Credit: AP

Change is never easy.

That's true in life and in tennis. But on Day 7, the US Open provided plenty of examples that change is good, even if the past holds many memories.

Fans arriving on site were hopeful but not confident that they would get to watch Roger Federer in action later in the day versus Marcel Granollers inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. With the weather forecast calling for late afternoon showers, many of those hopefuls quickly lined up in the late morning to see Federer practice.

The new and improved practice courts on site, with their upper deck seating providing prime viewing, perhaps owe a nod to those out in the Indian Wells desert with that event first popularizing the chance to see top players up close, even if they just work on their volleys. The Swiss Maestro hit a few balls with his now coach Stefan Edberg, a rather cool and fun moment few probably thought they would never see.

Federer was greeted with applause when he entered and left the practice area, loud proof of his popularity in New York.

US Open: Federer Pulls Out Rain Delayed Win

While the US Open keeps making improvements, one that it can't improve on is the weather itself. That expected rain did fall, and hard, just as Federer found himself down early in the first set. The two hour delay caused havoc as it occurred just as the day session ended and the night session was coming up.

Federer, who returned to a near empty Ashe Stadium since it was cleared out of the day session attendees, ended up winning in four sets. Still, the tournament continues showing it desperately needs a roof over multiple courts just to keep from being completely derailed schedule wise by a passing rain shower.

That day is coming soon in the next few years, but if fans really want to see their favorites in the meantime, perhaps they should show early for practice, just in case.

One woman who is embracing change is Caroline Wozniacki.

A few years ago, while ranked No. 1, Wozniacki beat Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. That was considered a big result then. But Wozniacki's bravura three set win on Sunday versus Sharapova again feels even bigger for the now No. 10 seed.

"I don't know. You know, it's a new year and I've gotten older - and hopefully a little wiser," Wozniacki said when asked to compare the two wins. "You know, I feel good. I feel comfortable when I play out there. The crowd was amazing today. It's just so much fun to play out there again on the big court."

After an early season of struggles, followed by a well-publicized breakup, Wozniacki looks reenergized. Maybe it's all the marathon running she doing too. In any event, watching Wozniacki mount her third set comeback on her own, with no need for an on-court coaching consult from her father, suggests maybe Wozniacki will finally realize she doesn't his help every match. We'll see though.

Still, the inevitable question about that breakup was asked in her post-match press conference. Wozniacki handled it quite well.

"To be honest, I don't think that's a relevant question. I'm here to play tennis and I play well. I'm just happy to be here. Whatever is happening off the court is not really relevant here."

Wozniacki is not only moving on into the next round where she'll face Sara Errani, but also moving on with her life, and on her terms.

The clouds may have brought inevitable rain that derailed some plans on this Sunday at the US Open. Yet "Sunshine" managed to break through at just the right time.

 

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