Tennis: French Open schedule hit by washout

A sole umbrella-wielding spectator waiting in hope while the covers remain on the surface of the main Philippe Chatrier Court yesterday. The organisers of the French Open plan to introduce a roof to the main court, but that will not happen until 2020
A sole umbrella-wielding spectator waiting in hope while the covers remain on the surface of the main Philippe Chatrier Court yesterday. The organisers of the French Open plan to introduce a roof to the main court, but that will not happen until 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

No play possible at Roland Garros, more rain due tomorrow, round 4 incomplete

PARIS • The French Open suffered its first complete washout since 2000 yesterday when all scheduled matches were cancelled due to heavy rain.

"Due to weather, there will be no matches played at #RG16 today," said the Roland Garros Twitter feed.

There could be more problems today with further rain forecast throughout the day before conditions brighten tomorrow.

Eight last-16 matches planned for yesterday plus two more which had already been held over from Sunday night will now be played today.

Three quarter-finals are also due to take place today - Andy Murray against Richard Gasquet and defending champion Stan Wawrinka against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the men's event while Shelby Rogers was to face Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles.

Play had been set to get under way at 11am (5pm Singapore time) yesterday but was eventually called off just before 2pm.

"All cancelled for today - rain, rain go away," tweeted Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who was due to face former runner-up David Ferrer of Spain for a last-eight spot.

This year's French Open was hit by rain delays on the opening Sunday when just 10 of the scheduled 32 opening-round ties were completed in a little over four hours of play.

The second day was then hit by another 21/2-hour delay. That in turn pushed 12 of the scheduled 66 matches back to the first Tuesday.

There was a 21/2-hour stoppage on Saturday, followed by another hour on Sunday, which meant that the planned last-16 programme remains unfinished.

Under the original schedule, the fourth round was due to be completed yesterday, leaving today and tomorrow for the quarter-finals.

But if there are further delays today, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is chasing a first French Open to complete his career Grand Slam, could end up playing his last-16 tie tomorrow, quarter-final on Thursday and semi-final on Friday.

Roland Garros organisers are planning a roof for the showpiece Philippe Chatrier Court but that will not be ready until 2020.

Djokovic is poised to become the first man to win US$100 million (S$138 million) in prize money if he makes the quarter-finals for the 10th time.

The top seed tackles Spain's 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, boasting a 4-0 career lead over the 28-year-old Spaniard.

In other men's last-16 ties still to be played, Belgian 12th seed David Goffin faces Latvian Ernests Gulbis, a semi-finalist in 2014.

Austrian 13th seed Dominic Thiem faces Spain's Marcel Granollers with both men trying to make the last eight of a Slam for the first time.

In the women's last 16, top seed and defending champion Serena Williams is bidding for for a record-equalling Open era 22nd Grand Slam title. The 34-year-old takes on Ukraine's Elina Svitolina who is being coached in Paris by Justine Henin, one of Williams' former great rivals.

Spanish 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro faces unseeded Yulia Putintseva.

In-form Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who knocked out Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the first round, faces 15th seed Madison Keys of the US.

Venus Williams faces Swiss eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist last year.

The two fourth-round ties that were suspended saw second seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-0 up on Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

Sixth seed Simona Halep of Romania was leading Australian veteran Samantha Stosur 5-3.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

FRENCH OPEN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'Schedule hit by washout'. Print Edition | Subscribe