Roddick, Murray grind through as rain hits Paris
Paris: Andy Roddick and Andy Murray ground down feisty opponents to reach the French Open third round on Thursday while the rain did a more convincing job, giving organisers a headache by tearing the schedule asunder.
Only 17 singles matches, several of which were held over after Wednesday`s downpours, were completed and with more adverse weather predicted for the weekend officials face a daunting backlog to get back on schedule.
While Roddick and Murray were relieved to have seen off their opponents before gloom enclosed Roland Garros once again, former champion Ana Ivanovic went out with barely a whimper while Kimiko Date Krumm`s fairytale week fizzled out.
Not often does big-serving American Roddick have his greatest weapon broken seven times in a match, but the dashingly named Blaz Kavcic from Slovenia showed he had little respect for reputations in his first Roland Garros campaign.
Unfortunately for Kavcic, one of two Slovenian men to have broken through to the second round here, he had his own service foiled 10 times and he finally succumbed in a topsy-turvy match 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in three minutes short of three hours.
"That was one that might have gotten away from me a while ago, but I was just kind of staying the course," Roddick, who faces Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili in round three, told reporters.
"I don`t know the last time I lost serve seven times. I`m going in knowing it`s gonna be crappy tennis. You know, I just want to be the less crappy one out there."
Murray, likewise interrupted by two rainbreaks, faced the frustration of his contest with Juan Ignacio Chela stretching to a third day after rain halted play in the second set on Wednesday, but the British fourth seed saw off the seasoned Argentine in four sets with a mix of guile and superior fitness.
"It`s tough to get into a rhythm," said Murray, who has little time to recover as his third-round match with Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis is scheduled for Friday.
"When we stayed on court for sort of 30 minutes, 40 minutes, I started to feel a lot better and relaxed."
Persistent rain had started to batter Roland Garros a matter of minutes before the scheduled 0900GMT start and only relented after a near five-hour delay.
In between the following showers, there was enough time for Ivanovic, a pale shadow of the starry-eyed champion of 2008, and 39-year-old Japanese veteran Date Krumm to bid their farewells.
Ivanovic, desperately clutching for a renaissance after plunging from the summit two years ago to 42nd in the world rankings now, offered little resistance to a bulldozing display from Russian 28th seed Alisa Kleybanova, bowing out 6-3, 6-0.
"You know I love this tournament," she told reporters. "It`s still my favorite tournament. I think I`m on the right path and I`m doing lots of things right."
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.
Date Krumm, whose last appearance here was in 1996 before a 12-year absence from the game, had defied doctor`s orders to play after knocking out last year`s runner-up Dinara Safina in the previous round.
"Yesterday I took an MRI. I went to the clinic, and the doctor said `of course don`t play. It`s too risky`.
"I just wanted three games or one set or two sets. But I want to try do my best."
Jelena Jankovic, the Serbian fourth seed, won through a tricky second-round test against Estonia`s Kaia Kanepi in three sets, and Fabio Fognini further dampened the home crowd`s spirits by seeing off 13th seed Gael Monfils.
Their match was halted amid acrimonious scenes at 5-5 in the fifth set on Wednesday, and Monfils blinked first in a 31-minute shootout on its resumption to hand victory 9-7 to the Italian.
"I lost, that`s all. I am disappointed, I lost, and voilà," said Monfils. "But I like Fabio. He beat me fair and square."
Justine Henin, replaced as women`s champion by Ivanovic two years ago, was halted at 6-3, 3-2 in her second-round match against Czech Klara Zakopalova when darkness finally enveloped Roland Garros for good.
She as well as Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, Venus and Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all feature in a star-studded Friday schedule.