Serena Williams will have to wait another day to battle Victoria Azarenka for the U.S. Open title. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/REUTERS)

The U.S. Open men’s final will be postponed to Monday for a fifth consecutive year as a result of severe weather that scuttled play during second men’s semifinal shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday.

At that point, No. 3 seed Andy Murray had secured his spot in the final, defeating Tomas Berdych, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) in a rain-delayed match played amid winds gusting at more than 25 mph. But the second semifinal, pitting Novak Djokovic against David Ferrer, was still in the first set, with Ferrer leading 5-2 after 33 minutes of play.

That’s when the match was halted because of reports that severe weather, including a possible tornado, was on the march. Both players were told to leave the court, and the crowd at 23,500-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium was informed that severe weather was en route and that match would resume Sunday morning.

Under a revised schedule, the Djokovic-Ferrer match will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday and be aired on ESPN2. The women’s final between top-seeded Victoria Azarenka and three-time champion Serena Williams will follow, but not before 4:30 p.m, on CBS. The men’s final will be held Monday at 4 p.m., aired by CBS.

The winner of the Djokovic-Ferrer semifinal will be put at a considerable disadvantage, however, having to play best-of-five-sets matches on consecutive days. Murray, by contrast, will enjoy a full day of rest.

In a hastily called news conference, David Brewer, tournament director of the U.S. Open, defended the decision to hold Saturday’s men’s semifinals back-to-back despite weather reports that indicated there was no more than a four- or five-hour window of clear weather in store. If the two men’s semifinals had been staged at the same time, on adjacent courts, it’s likely that both would have been completed Saturday, and the men’s final could have been held on Sunday as planned.

Brewer said tournament officials queried all four men’s semifinalists on Friday about their preferences and got four different opinions. Brewer said the tournament also weighed the priorities of the its broadcast partners and Saturday ticket-holders, who had bought tickets expecting to see both men’s semifinals rather than being forced to choose between them.