HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer
PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s fourth-round match at the French Open finally got started, albeit under a light drizzle, remnants of heavier rain that wiped out an entire day of play and caused a delay of more than an hour to Tuesday’s proceedings.
The top-seeded Djokovic, seeking to win a fourth consecutive major title and complete a career Grand Slam, was facing 14th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain at a nearly empty Court Philippe Chatrier, where the handful of spectators huddled under umbrellas.
And there was time for only one set to be finished — Bautista Agut took it 6-3 in 35 minutes by breaking Djokovic three times — before the drizzle grew heavier, causing play to be suspended.
Djokovic and Bautista Agut originally were supposed to face each other Monday, when there was a complete washout of a day at Roland Garros for the first time in 16 years.
Continuing showers Tuesday pushed back the start of play, but eventually the rain became lighter, the tarps came off and there was action all around the grounds. That included the resumption of a pair of fourth-round women’s matches that were suspended in progress Sunday night because of rain and didn’t get a chance to continue Monday: No. 2 Agienszka Radwanska vs. Tsvetana Pironkova, and No. 6 Simona Halep vs. No. 21 Sam Stosur.
Those matches were also suspended yet again after only about a half-hour of play Tuesday. Radwanska and Pironkova were even at a set apiece when action was halted; Stosur was leading Halep 7-6 (0), 3-2.
With a backlog of suspended or postponed matches, organizers were hoping to be able to make progress Tuesday and avoid the possibility of needing to push back the end of the tournament.
The women’s singles final is supposed to be Saturday, with the men’s singles final on Sunday.
If Djokovic and Bautista Agut were able to complete their match, it was scheduled to be followed in the main stadium by defending champion Serena Williams against 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina in their delayed fourth-round match.
The first men’s quarterfinals were also listed on the schedule, weather permitting: Second-seeded Andy Murray against No. 9 Richard Gasquet, and defending champion Stan Wawrinka against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Monday was the first day entirely wiped out by wet weather at the French Open since May 30, 2000.
In order to try to make up ground on the schedule, organizers decided to try to begin play Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time — three hours earlier than normal on the tournament’s second Tuesday. That didn’t quite work out, but at least there were players on court, and shots being struck, by a little past noon.
Less than an hour later, though, everything was put on hold.