After three days of scorching sunshine, rain showers sent some players scurrying for cover and left others waiting for their matches to start at the French Open yesterday. Andy Murray, who was due to face Juan Ignacio Chela, was in the latter category, while Roger Federer twice had to dodge the showers before completing a 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Colombia's Alejandro Falla.
"This is how this game has been played for decades," a relaxed Federer said after his second-round win. "We're used to walking on and off the court and being flexible about these kind of things. The texture of the clay changes drastically when there's no sun. Conditions slow down a lot. There are advantages and disadvantages, and you've got to use them if you can."
The defending champion was briefly in trouble when he dropped serve at 5-5 in the first set, but he broke back immediately and won the tie-break 7-4. From then the outcome never looked in doubt. Federer now plays Germany's Julian Reister, who beat Olivier Rochus 6-2, 6-2, 7-6.
Robin Soderling, who lost to Federer in last year's final, beat the American Taylor Dent 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 in just 71 minutes. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also wasted little time, beating Josselin Ouanna, a fellow Frenchman, 6-0, 6-1, 6-4, but the No 8 seed was not entirely happy.
Tsonga complained about having to play his first-round match on Sunday, when he would have preferred an extra 24 hours to work on his fitness. Tsonga, who needed five sets to beat Daniel Brands, said: "We are in France. I'm French. I'm French No 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to."Reuse content