59-match backlog at French Open due to rain

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/frenchopenrain_ap.jpg' class='caption'> French Open organisers have a relatively clear day in order to start making up a massive backlog of 59 unplayed first-round matches following a rainy day.

Updated: June 02, 2008 18:21 IST
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French Open organisers have a relatively clear day on Wednesday in order to start making up a massive backlog of 59 unplayed first-round matches following a disruptive day of rain.

Tuesday's programme at Roland Garros almost became like a near-total washout, with second seed Rafael Nadal stranded at 1-1 against Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci just nine minutes into the opening of a title defence as the Spaniard bids for a fourth straight trophy at the event.

Nikolay Davydenko and Swiss Stan Wawrinka got the job done for seeds, sneaking in victories on a day of two rain interruptions and a delayed start of three hours.

Davydenko swept Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 while Wawrinka, at ninth the newest member of the Top 10 thanks to his Rome final against Novak Djokovic, beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4,6-3.

"It's difficult to say anything about the match, because it was raining today and all we could do was to wait," said Davydenko, who won a tune-up event at the weekend in Austria.

"I only had one day of practice here, which is not really enough time to prepare. But I'm happy to win in three sets and finish the match."

Swede Robin Soderling upset Argentine 13th seed Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 while France's Jean-Rene Lisnard had Marat Safin in trouble 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 2-1 with their contest among those interrupted.

On the women's side, former finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova and fellow Russian Dinara Safina got through by finishing their matches by mid-afternoon.

France's Amelie Mauresmo struggled with the weather and Ukranian Olga Savchuk before posting a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 win into the second round.

But the former Wimbledon winner knows all about weather delays.

"I've already been in these kinds of situations, whether it was here or at Wimbledon. I'm okay with that. I usually don't get too stressed out during the breaks."

Kuznetsova, the number four, and 13th-seeded Safina took around an hour apiece during a brief dry spell to advance on a day of frustrating waiting.

Kuznetsova defeated Japan's Aiko Nakamura 6-2, 6-3, while Safina beat Katerina Bondarenko of the Ukraine 6-1, 6-3 in the heavy conditions.

"I think it's very important (to finish), and I'm really happy," said Kuznetsova. "I had to wait a little bit but I was lucky that I wasn't cancelled.

"I got in my match, so I have the rest of the day to relax, to take it easy, and tomorrow I practise and get prepared for my next match."

More rain returned shortly after her victory, stranding 15 matches on courts around the grounds. But after three hours, play was able to get underway again in early evening - until more rain ended the day for good.

Officials lopped 20 matches off of an ambitious - even for a dry day - programme of 72 singles matches.

Women's top seed Maria Sharapova was sent home as a result of the cutback.

With matches fast backing up and no hope of starting doubles on Wednesday, scheduling could fast become an issue.

Forecasts for the rest of week one show sunny spells and more rain, though not apparently as bad as Tuesday's deluge disaster.

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  • Tennis
  • Novak Djokovic
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Maria Sharapova

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