Ivanovic, Date Krumm out amid the Paris showers

Paris: Rain wreaked havoc with Thursday`s schedule at the French Open but the gloomy weather broke for long enough to see former champion Ana Ivanovic and veteran Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm exit the tournament.

Persistent rain started to batter the Roland Garros venue a matter of minutes before the scheduled 0900GMT start and only relented after a near five-hour delay.

Six singles matches, including those of four-times champion Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams, were cancelled while 16 doubles contests were also forced to be rescheduled.

Around 90 minutes of play were possible mid-afternoon during which time Ivanovic, the champion of 2008 now ranked 42, looked a shadow of her former sparkling self in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat by Russian 28th seed Alisa Kleybanova.

At 39, Date Krumm became the second oldest women`s player to win a singles match here with her first-round triumph over last year`s runner-up Dinara Safina but her challenge ran out of steam in a 6-0 6-3 rout by Australia`s Jarmila Groth.

Five women`s singles matches were completed during the brief respite from the weather.

Forecasters say the rain is likely to continue intermittently for the rest of the day and plummeting temperatures have also been predicted over the weekend.

Spectators will get a 50 per cent refund if there is less than two hours of play, thanks to special insurance taken out by the French tennis federation.

The scenes in the walkways underneath Court Philippe Chatrier resembled a refugee camp with miserable spectators sporting coloured waterproofs sat beside rain-soaked umbrellas and bags hoping for any break in the Parisian murk.

Serbian fourth seed Jelena Jankovic lifted the gloom when she walked on the main court wearing a buttercup yellow dress to open play against Estonia`s Kaia Kanepi.

They were tied at a set all and 1-1 in the decider when the covers were rushed on once again.

That match was due to be followed by a match interrupted amid remarkable scenes in the near darkness of 2200 local time on Wednesday night with French 13th seed Gael Monfils and Italian Fabio Fognini locked at 5-5 in the fifth set of a heated clash.

Fognini was docked a time penalty point and missed three match points as players and officials had angry exchanges over whether the match should continue in such dismal light.

British fourth seed Andy Murray had time for only more game before the rain returned, Juan Ignacio Chela holding serve for a 4-3 lead in the second set after the Scot had clinched the opener in Wednesday night`s gloom.

American sixth seed Andy Roddick was a set up and tied at 5-5 in the second against Slovenia`s Blaz Kavcic on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Bureau Report

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