Paris in the springtime? French Open rainout sinks schedule
PARIS — The second full-day washout at the French Open since 2000 made a mess of the schedule Wednesday and raised the possibility that the Grand Slam tournament will not finish on time.
Tournament director Guy Forget said there is a chance that the women’s singles final could be delayed from Saturday to Sunday.
“It’s not what we hope,” Forget said, “but if we have no other choice, then that’s what we will do.”
Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam site without a covered court; a retractable roof is expected to be added to the main stadium before next year’s tournament at the facility in western Paris.
As things stand now, with the last two women’s quarterfinals — defending champion Simona Halep of Romania vs. 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova of the U.S., and No. 8 Ash Barty of Australia vs. No. 14 Madison Keys of the U.S. — moved from Wednesday to Thursday, whoever emerges from that half of the draw could end up playing on three consecutive days.
The semifinals that were supposed to be Thursday are now scheduled for Friday. But, as Forget noted, while Thursday’s forecast looks OK, Friday’s calls for more showers.
“Friday,” he said, “is kind of complicated.”
That would mean the women’s semifinals could end up on Saturday.
Also moved from Wednesday to Thursday were the last two men’s quarterfinals: No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who is attempting to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, against No. 5 Alexander Zverev of Germany, and No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria vs. No. 10 Karen Khachanov of Russia.
Instead of beginning at 2 p.m. local time (1200 GMT, 8 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, play will start at noon (1000 GMT, 6 a.m. EDT).
One semifinal in each singles draw already was set Tuesday, so those players can sit back, relax and prepare. On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal faces Roger Federer, meeting Friday for sixth time at Roland Garros and 39th time overall. They own a combined 37 Grand Slam titles.
“The one,” Forget called it, “that a lot of people are waiting for, of course.”
On the women’s side, it’s No. 26 Johanna Konta of Britain against unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Neither has reached a major final.
Play was wiped out by rain at the French Open for a full day in 2016. Before that, it hadn’t happened since 2000.
In 2012, the men’s final between Nadal and Djokovic began on Sunday but was suspended in the fourth set and resumed Monday. That was the first time since 1973 that the clay-court major tournament lasted past its originally scheduled final Sunday.
“When we have uncertain weather, of course, it’s very hard to predict scheduling,” Forget said. “But we have to always study the worse-case scenario, knowing that ideally we want to try to finish on Sunday.”
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