Top seed Novak Djokovic overcame the rain and a first-round challenge from David Goffin at the French Open, where showers forced the postponement of 14 matches.
Djokovic of Serbia beat Belgium’s Goffin 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5, on the main Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris. They finished at 8:55 p.m. local time last night as darkness set in.
“It was a long day,” Djokovic said in his post-match news conference. “Conditions were quite tricky. It was a difficult day because we have been waiting for hours and hours. I think I warmed up five or six times today.”
Play was halted for almost three hours at the start of day three, and then for more than an hour during the afternoon as rain fell and spectators sought shelter underneath the stadium. Unlike Wimbledon or the Australian Open, Roland Garros doesn’t have a court with a roof.
Djokovic, 26, has won every Grand Slam tournament except the French Open. He came closest last year, when he was beaten in the final by third-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain. There won’t be a repeat of that title match, as the two are scheduled to meet in the semifinals. Djokovic has beaten Nadal, a seven-time champion, on clay once this season, ending the Spaniard’s run of eight consecutive titles at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
In the women’s draw, former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia dropped just two games yesterday against Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan. Date-Krumm, 42, first played in Paris in 1989, when 57 players in the current women’s singles draw hadn’t yet been born.
Bernard Tomic’s off-court problems with his father got more attention than his quitting a match with a leg injury against Romania’s Victor Hanescu as he trailed 7-5, 7-6 (10-8), 2-1.
John Tomic, the coach and father of Australia’s No. 1-ranked player, was barred from the men’s tour on May 8 until further notice as he faces a charge of assaulting his son’s training partner. He was also banned from entering the grounds of the French Open.
John Tomic had been charged with assault two days after allegedly injuring Thomas Drouet with a head butt on May 4 in a Madrid street. He has disputed the charge. Drouet, a Frenchman whose nose was broken in the incident, has since been employed as a hitting partner of Marion Bartoli.
Before the start of his press conference yesterday, Bernard Tomic made a statement about his father, saying he “loved him a lot,” and that he was “still my dad, still my coach.” Although the press conference moderator said he wouldn’t answer further questions about his father, the 20-year-old added an additional person may join his coaching team in the run-up to Wimbledon.
Match Points Saved
The long rain delays meant that the opening match in the main stadium between Bartoli, the No. 13 seed from France, and Olga Govortsova of Belarus finished at 6:22 p.m. Bartoli, a former Wimbledon runner-up, saved two match points and won 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 7-5.
Switzerland’s ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, the most successful clay-court player this season other than Nadal, beat Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands in four sets.
Men’s 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov also advanced after Alejandro Falla of Colombia quit with an elbow injury with the Bulgarian leading 6-4, 1-0.
Dimitrov, who upset Djokovic in the second round in Rome two weeks ago, may play the six-time major champion in the third round.
Dimitrov, 22, told reporters that he wasn’t feeling “any pressure” and that he thought he could win the tournament.
Other seeds to advance yesterday included 35-year-old Tommy Haas, the No. 12 from Germany, and women’s No. 18 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. Jack Sock, a qualifier from the U.S. playing in his first French Open, beat Spanish clay-courter Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Among the postponed matches were Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus against Elena Vesnina of Russia and former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic versus France’s Aravane Rezai.
Those first-round matchups are scheduled to open play on the main showcourts today, when women’s top seed Serena Williams of the U.S. takes on Caroline Garcia of France and men’s No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland faces India’s Somdev Devvarman in the second round.