Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Djokovic wins as rain disrupts schedule

PARIS — Novak Djokovic spent the better part of a rainy Tuesday at the French Open wondering when — and even whether — he would wind up playing his first-round match at the only Grand Slam he has yet to win.

Unlike Wimbledon and the Australian Open, Roland Garros does not have a roof at any court.

Unlike the U.S. Open, though, at least there is a definitive timeline to build one.

Djokovic is thrilled about that forthcoming addition in Paris, even if it won't come until 2018. He also can't wait for them to install artificial lights at the French Open, which is supposed to happen sooner. Both of those improvements would have contributed to a more stress-free evening for the man ranked and seeded No. 1, who slipped and slid his way along the red clay to a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5 victory over David Goffin in the first round.

"It was a difficult day, because we have been waiting for hours and hours. I think I warmed up five or six times today," Djokovic said. "In these conditions … you need to adjust your game and tactics, because it's quite different than comparing to the conditions when it's dry and sunny."

Even though his match against the 58th-ranked Goffin, a Belgian who was one of the revelations at Roland Garros a year ago, was the second to be played on Court Philippe Chatrier, they did not begin until after 6:30 p.m. They finished as light was fading shortly before 9 p.m.

"It was a long day," Djokovic said.

At least he got to play.

Because of showers that began in the morning, there was a delay of more than 2½ hours at the start. Then, after only 1½ hours of action, arrived another stop of more than an hour. Only 26 of 40 scheduled singles matches were completed, three were suspended in progress, and organizers wound up postponing 11 others. That means players such as Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, will be slated for first-round action today, the fourth day of the tournament (when the forecast calls for more rain).

Among the winners Tuesday were 2010 French Open runnerup and 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, a Tampa resident, who beat 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-2.

No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka, No. 12 Tommy Haas and No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov advanced, along with American Jack Sock in his French Open debut.

Davydenko to pass on Wimbledon: Nikolay Davydenko will skip Wimbledon for the first time since 2001. The Russian, who ended a five-match losing streak by defeating Florent Serra 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the French Open, hasn't had much success on grass. In 11 straight appearances at Wimbledon, his best showing was reaching the fourth round in 2007.

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