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Jun 6, 2019, 3:47:00 PM

Heavy rain pushes French Open back by a day

After threatening for a couple of days, thunderstorms and heavy rain stopped play on Wednesday in Paris. With two quarter-finals still to be played in the men’s side, and two in the women’s, all the semi-finals will have to be played on Friday instead, which means less rest for those players who have ended up in this side of the draw.

However, any extra day of rest will not be noticed until the finals are held on Saturday and Sunday, as one half of the draw will not face the other until then. This means that one of the four out of Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov will have heavier legs when they meet either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer in the final.

Nadal is the sports betting favourite at this point, but he and Federer probably do not have the same body conditioning as their rivals in the other half of the draw at this point. In some ways, it could help to remove those advantages, and offer another reason to back Nadal.

The same issue will fall in the women’s game, where one of Johanna Konta and Markéta Vondroušová will benefit from this as well. It means that the two remaining quarters – Simona Halep versus Amanda Anisimova and Madison Keys versus Ashleigh Barty – will have their schedules squashed as organizers try to squeeze everything in.

Guy Forget, the tournament director, said that he intends to put all four semi-finals on across three courts on Friday, splitting them as effectively as possible to ensure fairness.

The Thursday forecast seems a lot better, with no rain expected and plenty of sunshine to help dry out any clay that got soaked. However, Friday already seems like it is going to be a struggle, with more rain on the way.

Forget said that he wanted to “avoid any additional problem” in reference to holding the semi-finals at the same time as each other, meaning that no player in the final will have had extra rest just before it. However, he admitted that he would put Federer against Nadal as the first last-four match to allow those in the other half of the draw to get more rest beforehand.

The director also refused to rule out considering the option of moving the finals to Monday if necessary, and cited the 2012 final between Djokovic and Nadal as an instance where weather pushed their hand. 

Words: Stephen Bannister
Images: PA