Murray sparkles after rain delays meeting with Chela

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The Independent Online

The conditions could hardly have offered a greater contrast to his opening match as Andy Murray's second-round contest here at the French Open was called off midway through the second set last night. On a chilly evening the Scot was leading Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 3-3 when the umpire called a halt to play in fading light at 9.30pm.

On Monday, Murray had been on court for more than four hours in sweltering heat against Richard Gasquet, but the weather changed sharply yesterday as the temperature plummeted and rain showers interrupted play during the afternoon. It meant that Murray and Chela did not begin their match on Court 1, in front of a sparse crowd, until 8.09pm.

Murray had to save two break points in the second game, but thereafter the world No 4 dominated the first set with some sparkling play. With Chela playing way behind the baseline, Murray's drop shots were a particularly potent weapon, but it was the Scot's aggressive returns of serve that secured successive breaks in the third and fifth games before he served out for the set.

Chela had a break point in the fourth game of the second set, but again it was Murray who drew first blood to go 3-2 ahead. By now the light was deteriorating and Chela started complaining to the umpire.

Nevertheless, it was the Argentine who finished the evening on a winning note, breaking back to level at 3-3 before play was called off for the day, to Murray's apparent displeasure, after consultation between the players and the tournament referee. They will resume the match today.

Remarkably, play continued on the adjoining Court Philippe Chatrier for another 25 minutes. Italy's Fabio Fognini had fought back from two sets down against France's Gaël Monfils and complained bitterly when the umpire ordered play to continue at 4-4 in the decider. Fognini held for 5-4, despite having a point deducted for his protests, and had three match points in the following game before play was called off for the night, in almost complete darkness at 9.55pm, with the score at 5-5.