Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Nadal v Bellucci as it happened

Roland Garros, Paris, 25 May-8 June

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June

French Open

First-round result:

R NADAL (Spa) bt T Bellucci (Bra)

7-5 6-3 6-1

* denotes server

Third set:

1528: A fine performance from Nadal and a magnificent effort from all of you, thanks for your texts – even the dubious ones. Time for a quick break (and for some you I recommend a cold shower) before we’re back with Murray v Acasuso at about 1700 BST. My colleague Caroline Cheese is already going through her pre-match preparations, impressive stuff.

Nadal 6-1 Bellucci
There we have it, Nadal seals victory with another break of serve and, as usual, his relentless power just proves too much for an opponent on clay. A decent effort from Bellucci though.

1526: “Roddick@Queens? Brill, I’ve got weekend tickets. I’m hoping for Rafa, Djokovic, Roddick and Murray in the semis. Hopefully the draw will work out.”
From Sarah, Bucks, via text on 81111

1524: “I think Andy ‘i like to win in a hurry’ Murray will have no problems against Jose ‘i can do so’ Acasuso.”
From Dan, Frimley, via text on 81111 (Good work, Dan)

1522: “Ah fair enough (see 1512 entry) , i think my eyes are deceiving me today, i could have point my life on balls being in and they werent… Maybe its all the pant watching i have been doing.
From Lauren via text on 81111

Nadal 5-1 Bellucci
Nadal has a very minor scare at 0-30 but comes up with a beautiful swinging serve down the centre line for an ace, and he saves a break point by taking charge with his forehand. Nadal wraps up the game with a drop shot that Bellucci, understandably, doesn’t really look like he fancies chasing down. Been a long afternoon.

Nadal 4-1 Bellucci
Bellucci stays just about alive in this match with his first service hold for a while. Meanwhile, out on Court Three, Julien Benneteau proves he is not in the least bit afraid of Vince Spadea and sees him off in five sets. Just Stephanie Cohen-Aloro against Ioana Raluca Olaru to go before Murray against Acasuso. I am never typing that sentence again.

1512: “Yes Lauren (see 1506 entry) , it is just you.”
From Chris via text on 81111

Nadal 4-0 Bellucci
There’s a bit of mild controversy as Bellucci claims he stopped on a point because he heard a call from the crowd, but the umpire is having none of it. Nadal powers on.

1510: “Can ne1 outlast Rafa? 5 day matches, coming back from 2 sets down… Bellucci has 2 do something brilliant now 2 stand ne chance of winning.”
From Sarah, Cambridge, via text on 81111

1506: “Is it just me who thinks bellucci looks about 9ft tall??
From Lauren via text on 81111

Nadal 3-0 Bellucci
Nadal takes complete control with a second break in this set, grabbing it with a delicate angled forehand. For all those Murray fans out there Vince ‘I ain’t afraid aya’ Spadea is doing his best to hold our man up by taking Julien Benneteau to five sets on Court Three. There’s a women’s singles to follow, so I reckon we’re looking at some time after 1730 BST.

Nadal 2-0 Bellucci
Nadal consolidates the break and Bellucci looks a bit forlorn for the first time today. Should be plain sailing now, but don’t forget we’ve got Andy Murray coming up later. And thank you Helen and Missy for your positive comments, I just hope you’re not reading this while operating heavy machinery.

1459: “Clearly something has got into the water, the ladies on here seem to be frisky today! As a riposte could i just say, Ana Ivanovic is slighty attractive.”
From Stu in Redhill via text on 81111

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
Bellucci looks on course for an easy hold but lets Nadal back in to deuce and the champ soon has a break point. Bellucci does well to win a long rally but Nadal gets the break two points later and that could well be that. The sounds of baying French schoolchildren fills the arena. Terrifying.

Second set:

Nadal 6-3 Bellucci
A confident hold of serve and Nadal moves two sets clear and looks all set for the second round.

1445: To summarise the flood of dubious texts prompted by Rafa and his underwear issues, Jude finds it “loathsome”, Sarah from Bucks is more of Djokovic girl, Steve in West Sussex has odd thoughts about Rafa’s left bicep, and someone out there still holds a candle for Billie Jean. What a world. Oh and, yes, Soph from Cambridge , Roddick will be fit for Queen’s and Wimbledon.

Nadal 5-3 Bellucci
Bellucci goes for a serve-volley early on and takes the point with a stop-volley that would have made Sampras proud. Remember old Pete? Charging into the net, smacking aces, volleying everything that moved… jumpers for goalposts etc. And I’m back in the room – Nadal gets a break point but Bellucci saves it with a fine wrong-footing forehand. A second chance arrives for Nadal and this time he takes it…. with a volley! Dear old Pete would be loving this.

1436: OK, that last text message regarding Nadal crossed the line – you know who you are, ‘anon’.

Nadal 4-3 Bellucci
A few signs of frustration from Nadal in this game as the tenacious Bellucci keeps him on his toes until, at 30-30, the Brazilian skies a backhand and then fails to chase down a drop shot. It’s not easy going for the champion so far but he had a similar match against Juan Martin del Potro early on last year, and it didn’t do him any harm.

1431: “As much as I love Nadal, I wouldn’t rule Bellucci out just yet. He appears to be as much of a fighter as Rafa.”
Sarah from Cambridge via text on 81111 (Thank you, Sarah.)

1431: “I’m with caroline re Marat Safin – phew!”
From anon via text on 81111 (I give up.)

Nadal 3-3 Bellucci
Bellucci gets back on level terms with a very confident love-service game and he’s not going anywhere for the moment.

1428: “Rafa is definitely maintaining those pants (see 1408 and 1418 entries) , believe me i have been keeping a close eye on them :)”
From lauren via text on 81111 (OK ladies, I managed to maintain a sense of dignity and self-restraint through a whole Sharapova match, so I’m sure you can do the same.)

Nadal 3-2 Bellucci
Just watching these two smack forehands is making my shoulder hurt. Bellucci gets to deuce with a cross-court forehand that leaves Nadal scrambling in the dust, but he follows up with a poor approach and Nadal takes the game with… guess what, a massive forehand.

1421: “Thats it. Game over. Bellucci needed to win that first set to stand a chance. If he wins now I’ll eat my own face.”
Pete from liverpool via text on 81111

1418: “In reply to ginny (see 1408 entry) , i have noticed that Rafas new trousers have a slightly looser fit than normal which may mean fewer wedgies, unlucky for us girls!”
From vicky via text on 81111

Nadal 2-2 Bellucci
Bellucci comes through a really entertaining game with a winner off his apparently weaker backhand side.

1408: “Bellucci really needed to take that first set. He might still get a set but he needed to get the early momentum.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

Nadal 2-1 Bellucci
Another tidy service game from the three-time champion and it looks less and less likely that this afternoon will be the first time he suffers a defeat at Roland Garros.

1408: “Is rafa enjoying any of his usual pant picking action this afternoon?”
From Ginny via text on 81111 (Relatively little undergarment maintenance so far but I’ll let you know if the situation changes)

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
Bellucci takes some frustration out with a crunching serve that puts Nadal on his backside, although the champion still gets close to making the return, and the Brazilian holds to 15 with a backhand volley.

1404: ” Im pretty sure the radio1 number is 81199, which means that “bethannie, hollie n rachel” (see 1322 entry) need to sharpen up their texting fingers. best wishes to mr rampage.”
From david via text on 81111

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
It’s bright sunshine for the first time this week at Roland Garros and the sunny outlook is enhanced for my colleague Caroline Cheese with the news that Marat Safin has just beaten Jean-Rene Lisnard. She looks upon Safin in a not entirely professional manner. Back in the real world, Nadal holds to love.

1359: “I’m not sure what the future in this match is for Bellucci, but I certainly think his future in men’s tennis is a very bright one.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

First set:

Nadal 7-5 Bellucci
Good stuff from Bellucci when he comes to the net at 30-15 and takes the point with a couple of sharp volleys, but the Brazilian double-faults to be pegged back to deuce. Nadal gets his first set point but mishits a backhand, and Bellucci saves a second with a forehand. Set point number three and Bellucci double-faults – shame to finish a good set in that way.

1349: “Piers do you think that anyone will take a set off nadal in the first week?”
Mike, having his hair coloured in Newcastle, via text on 81111 (This clockwatch is taking a strange turn but, yes, I think he might lose a set or two early on. Maybe in the next few minutes. Keep us updated with hair news.)

Nadal 6-5 Bellucci
The, er, “beautiful Nadal” (see below) is back on track with a love-service game and ends with a “C’mon!”, which is a recent variation on his native “Vamos!” Bellucci faces a test of nerve here to see if he can force the tie-break.

1345: “Typical, i’ve been sat waiting since monday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful nadal at his best and when he finally gets on im at work! Relying on you to keep me informed piers!”
From anon via text on 81111

Nadal 5-5 Bellucci
Another perfect drop shot leaves Nadal stranded way behind the baseline and Bellucci holds to love to draw level.

Nadal 5-4 Bellucci
A pumped up Bellucci breaks straight back, much to everyone’s amazement.

1338: “I’m glad to report Rampage (see 1322 entry) is feeling better today and enjoying the tennis.”
From Matt, via text, on 81111

Nadal 5-3 Bellucci
Nadal is really fizzing down the forehands now and when one lands smack on the baseline, Bellucci cannot handle it and gives up two break points. The Brazilian then tries to drop shot Nadal again but the Spaniard is too quick and grabs the break.

Nadal 4-3 Bellucci
Contrary to rumours flying around on 606, Bellucci was not the star of the 1980s film K-9. That was James Belushi. Nor is he related to Italian actress and model, Monica Bellucci, who really is quite special. Thomaz has only a thumping serve and great big forehand with which to make his name. Nadal, who is of course the nephew of ex-Barcelona and Spain defender Miguel Angel Nadal, holds serve.

Nadal 3-3 Bellucci
Two of the biggest left-handed forehands you’re likely to see are locked in battle here – a battle you have to think Nadal will win in the end. Bellucci shows some nice touch with a superb angled backhand though, and takes the game with a big serve.

1322: Don’t forget you can text your words of wisdom if you’re in the UK on 81111. That number is shared with Radio 1 texts, for whom the following message is intended I think: “Rampage was sick last night. Loved it bethannie, hollie n rachel x x x”.
My condolences to Mr Rampage and best wishes on a speedy recovery.

Nadal 3-2 Bellucci
Nadal holds in double-quick time.

1318: “Nadal keeps looping it into the advantage corner, but Bellucci isn’t a rightie. On top of that, Bellucci can really spank high forehands, and Nadal is just feeding em right in there.”
philisophicalarfster on 606

Nadal 2-2 Bellucci
It’s worth noting that Bellucci has won four clay-court titles on the lower Challenger level tour this year and came through three matches in qualifying, so he’s no mug, as they say in Paris. A deft drop shot comes as a shock to everyone, Nadal included, among a barrage of heavy hitting. Still, the three-time champion is the best in the world at getting everything back and recovers the break immediately.

1312: “Bellucci has got beautiful poise on his backhand side and he reminds me of a left-handed Kuerten. He seems to have a sense that he belongs with the top players.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

Nadal 1-2 Bellucci
We’re under way and it remains blustery out on Philippe Chatrier Court, but thankfully no sign of rain yet. Nadal looks relieved to have finally been let off the leash but finds it tough going early on, facing break point after Bellucci smashes a huge forehand winner. The Brazilian goes for too much with another forehand but he converts a second break point to take a surprise lead.

In other early men’s matches, 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero retired in the second set against Marcos Daniel, fifth seed David Ferrer saw off Steve Darcis, and Aussie battler Lleyton Hewitt had a good win over Nicolas Mahut.

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
So, third time lucky, let’s hope this time we can get through without any rain interruptions. They managed two games last night in which both men held serve.

Nadal remains the world number two and three-time defending champion, Bellucci remains the world number 76 and a huge outsider.

Third set:

1240: A quick break now so that I can get a cup of tea, Nadal and Bellucci can warm up, and several hundred French teenagers can nip out for a fag. Back soon.

“I just think at the end it was physically a little too much for Rodina and she didn’t quite have enough. Sharapova, once again, delivers.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 8-6 Rodina
“Ma-ri-a, Ma-ri-a,” chant the youth of Paris, disproving my theory that every French teenager is in London at the moment. Sharapova closes out the match surprisingly easily, with a couple of dust storms and double-fault number 17 proving the only obstacle. She finally seals the win after two hours 28 minutes – zut alors.

Sharapova 7-6 Rodina
The quality of Sharapova’s drop shots has been variable, to say the least, but she finds a winner at the right time to get to 30-30. A backhand error from Rodina hands Sharapova her first break point of the set but she drags a backhand wide. A slapstick rally of net cords and missed chances follows, with Rodina putting a forehand long with the court gaping. Sharapova takes advantage by forcing an error on her second break point and the world number one can see the finish line, at last.

1228: Just to clear up the mystery that has gripped no-one but myself, the Noel Gallagher lookalike in the crowd is in fact her coach, Andrei Youzhny, brother of Russian player Mikhail. So he’s not Hispanic.

Sharapova 6-6 Rodina
Like Kenny Loggins, Sharapova is on a Highway to the Danger Zone here. At 15-15 she gets a huge slice of luck when a thumping forehand catches the net and loops just inside the line. She then pulls a forehand winner down the line before a desperate attempt at a lob that Rodina smacks away. Sharapova recovers with a huge forehand that literally knocks Rodina off her feet. No tie-break so we could be here a while.

1222: “In that game I was expecting a mental cave from Rodina but it didn’t happen, and she looks like a player who almost believes she can win this.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 5-6 Rodina
It’s all looking good again for Rodina at 40-15 but she drags a couple wide and is pegged back to deuce. In a lengthy rally, Rodina withstands a battering and forces the error before sealing the game.

Sharapova 5-5 Rodina
A thumping backhand winner followed by the now traditional Sharapova double-fault leave Rodina at 30-30 and just two points from victory. Rodina is playing in her first ever Grand Slam match, just to get things in perspective. Sharapova again comes up with two big first serves to get herself out of trouble.

Sharapova 4-5 Rodina
A slightly dubious drop shot gives Sharapova the first point – it’s a bit floaty and would probably have lobbed one of the Rochus brothers, but it does the job. The wind is blowing the ball all over the place and Rodina looks frustrated for the first time, as does Hispanic Noel in the stands, but she hangs on. One game from a huge shock. That’s huge, people.

Sharapova 4-4 Rodina
Rodina lunges out wide and hooks a forehand pass around Sharapova at the net for 15-15, and follows up with an even better forehand winner down the line from behind the baseline. Sharapova dumps a forehand into the net and it’s 15-40, two break points for Rodina…..

Sharapova smacks down two of her best serves of the day, the stuff of champions. She then double-faults, but recovers with yet another huge first serve and takes the game with a classic cross-court forehand off her hips.

Sharapova 3-4 Rodina
No sign of cramp as Rodina serves her way to 40-0 and moves back in front. We are getting close to a major shock now – the top women’s seed has not lost in the first round at Roland Garros in the Open era, i.e. since 1968.

Sharapova 3-3 Rodina
Sharapova opens with a wayward forehand and double-fault number 14 but despite struggling desperately for form, the top seed battles back. A searing forehand winner gets Sharapova to 40-30 and prompts Rodina to crouch down and feel her leg – maybe cramp. Sharapova holds.

Sharapova 2-3 Rodina
In contrast with Sharapova in the previous game, Rodina looks very much in control on her serve. She takes it to love and certainly has the upper hand at the moment.

Sharapova 2-2 Rodina
After plenty of tense, scrappy stuff, we get the point of the match so far at 15-15. Both players strike the ball beautifully in a lengthy rally that ends with Sharapova arrowing a backhand down the line that Rodina just cannot return. She responds with a flowing off-forehand winner but Sharapova edges the game. “C’mon!” she screams, as dad Yuri urges her on from the stands. He scares me.

Sharapova 1-2 Rodina
A big serve sees Rodina hold serve and she looks pretty unflappable at the moment. Sharapova has made 49 unforced errors and 12 double-faults so far. I would consider that a solid set, but the world number one is probably not going to be happy with those stats.

Sharapova 1-1 Rodina
A few unforced errors from Rodina let Sharapova off the hook a bit and the top seed is still shrieking and urging herself to “C’mon!”, which is a good sign if you’re in the Maria camp. I remain utterly impartial.

Sharapova 0-1 Rodina
Rodina takes the lead in the match for the first time and Sharapova will need all her battling qualities to get through this.

Second set:

1133: “Sharapova has given Rodina so many points. All credit to Rodina but she hasn’t done anything dazzling and Sharapova is faltering.”
Alastair Eykyn on BBCi

Sharapova 3-6 Rodina
Sharapova does her bit and moves to 40-0 but Rodina will not lie down and recovers to deuce, at which Sharapova double-faults again. A poor approach and dodgy volley set up Rodina to make the winning pass and level at one set all.

Sharapova 3-5 Rodina
The dust is blowing all over the place and annoying the players during the changeover. It reminds of afternoons spent on Broadstairs beach when I should have been in double English. Fortunately, neither of these two ladies are likely to be smacked in the head by a wayward frisbee. So, Rodina…. a love game betrays no sign of nerves at all and I refer to my original prediction, this could be a test for Sharapova now.

Sharapova 3-4 Rodina
The service problems look to be behind Sharapova as she eases to 40-0, but moments later we have double-fault number 10 and it’s deuce. The world number one grits her teeth and fires a superb forehand winner down the line before closing out the game.

1114: “What’s hurting Sharapova right now is the amount of unforced errors – eight in the first set, 13 so far in the second.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 2-4 Rodina
The camera keeps returning to someone who I presume is part of the Rodina ‘support team’, although he looks like a Hispanic Noel Gallagher. Anyway, Rodina does brilliantly to recover from 0-30 and move two games clear.

Sharapova 2-3 Rodina
Blimey, Sharapova’s serve has fallen to pieces. Successive break points, including one effort that I swear bounces before it hits the net, hand Rodina two break points. The top seed does well to hold serve and looks fine once the ball is in play, but the serve is a worry. She had terrible shoulder problems last year and that could be playing on her mind.

Sharapova 1-3 Rodina
Rodina dumps a forehand into the net and it’s deuce, but Sharapova lets a backhand slide wide on game point and Rodina consolidates the break. If anything the wind is getting stronger out there.

Sharapova 1-2 Rodina
A love game gets Sharapova off the mark and she doesn’t look unduly concerned at the moment. Some fashion facts from Alastair Eykyn on BBCi – apparently Maria is wearing a dress inspired by the 1920s that, according to her website, “reflects her dynamic sense of style”. I’m starting to worry about Alastair.

1055: “I’m starting to notice that backhand of Rodina, she gets up behind it and really transfers her weight well.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 0-2 Rodina
At 15-30, Rodina decides to have a go at the net. Some would say brave, others foolhardy. Sharapova gets Rodina in her sights and batters her with a succession of brutal groundstrokes, forcing the error and getting to 15-40. All credit to Rodina though, she comes battling back to hold serve. Gritty stuff.

Sharapova 0-1 Rodina
Think I’ll steer clear of predictions for today. After Rodina returns from a lengthy ‘comfort break’, Sharapova clearly decides it’s time to practise her forecourt game and trots up to the net. It’s not her natural habitat at the best of times, especially on clay in a howling wind, and she’s soon 15-40 down. The first two break points go begging but Rodina grabs a third to keep the match alive.

First set:

Sharapova 6-1 Rodina
A screaming return winner gets Sharapova to set point and she duly converts to wrap up the set in 29 minutes, making my lazy prediction of a possible test for the top seed look particularly rash. I now predict she will win easily.

Sharapova 5-1 Rodina
We’re up to three double-faults from Sharapova now but from 15-30 she steps aside and hammers an off forehand deep into the opposite corner. Rodina cannot convert a break point, at which point Sharapova gets a time violation warning from the umpire. If looks could kill. Still, she takes it out on the ball and goes on to hold.

Sharapova 4-1 Rodina
OK, Sharapova is up and running now, sweeping to another break and skipping back to her chair, You’ve got to hand it to Maria, she is always completely focused right from the off no matter what the tournament or who the opponent.

Sharapova 3-1 Rodina
With the wind behind her, Sharapova gives us the first service hold of the match. I would say it silenced the crowd but they’re already silent. You never get the impression at Roland Garros that people have been camping out overnight to get into the place. Maybe they’re all out actually playing tennis and that’s why the French have got loads of good players.

Sharapova 2-1 Rodina
Sharapova gets Rodina on the run early on and earns another two break points at 15-40, but Rodina saves the first with a big serve and the second with a running forehand. However, Sharapova clubs a forehand winner to get to advantage and Rodina overhits a forehand – three breaks in three games.

Sharapova 1-1 Rodina
A quick rundown on Rodina – she’s 19, ranked at pretty much a career-high of 103 in the world, and… hang on, she’s just broken back. Could be a test for Sharapova today.

Sharapova 1-0 Rodina
It’s extremely windy on Philippe Chatrier Court at the moment and almost completely bereft of spectators. None of which bothers Sharapova in the slightest and she breaks immediately – nervous start from Rodina.

1009: “The weather ruined my annual French Open dream last night. Ever year I have a dream in which the trophy is handed over to someone but a thunderclap woke me up before I got to see who it was last night.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

WEDNESDAY 1007: Day three of the Rafael Nadal v Thomaz Bellucci clockwatch begins…. with Maria Sharapova against Evgenya Rodina. Rafa will be back after the women’s top seed begins her campaign.

TUESDAY 1910: Play is officially called off for the day, so Nadal and Bellucci will be back tomorrow for a third attempt to play their match. Keep an eye out on our schedule page to see tomorrow’s line-up, should be a busy one.

1848: And the heavens open again! The rain comes pouring down, the umbrellas go straight up, and the covers are across.

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
It’s a battle of the forehands early on and that’s a dangerous game against Nadal, who finds one searing pass that the Brazilian cannot handle. Bellucci holds his nerve though and takes the game with a thumping backhand.

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
A solid enough start from the champion, who does not look in any particular hurry despite the late start.

1838: “Bellucci does have a good serve and has leapt up the rankings – this has the potential to be fascinating.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

1835: The players are out and knocking up , with Rafa sporting a vibrant green number that puts me in mind of the The Riddler from Batman. Bellucci is about to take on the closest thing to unbeatable in sport, I am about to try and eat a baked potato with bolognese while updating this clockwatch. Very different challenges but equally great.

1820: So where were we? Only 28 hours ago we got ready for Nadal v Bellucci, and finally we’re going to get it…

“So the facts and figures don’t stack up too well for Thomaz Bellucci here. While Rafael Nadal is the three-time defending champion, unbeaten at Roland Garros, and increasingly viewed by many as the greatest clay-courter of all time, Thomaz has a less glittering CV.

The man from Tiete, Brazil, has played just six ATP level matches in his career and won only one in 2008. Still, he came through three matches in qualifying, seeing off Martin Slanar, Ivo Klec and Tomas Zib no less.

And at 20 years old he has a year on Nadal, so maybe he’ll be able to tire the older man out. It’s a plan….”
BBC Sport’s Piers Newbery 28 hours ago

1817: Mauresmo wraps things up after seeing two match points go begging, to the delight of those hardy French souls who sat through the rain. And now they should get a bit of Nadal v Bellucci to warm them up.

1807: “When she gets going it’s absolutely terrific, and I’m sure a lot of players would swap their careers with Amelie Mauresmo’s.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

1805: Mauresmo looks to be cruising now at 4-1 up, but you never know with Amelie.

1755: “This weather is just stupid! it going to take the first week to complete just the first round unless this horrid weather improves, gotta feel sorry for the players that are geared up to play, only to be sent back to the lockerroom.”
From Will, Hampshire, via text on 81111 (In fairness, sent an hour ago when it was raining)

1750: Mauresmo breaks at the start of the decider but I wouldn’t bet on her to serve it out from here. Meanwhile, Nikolay Davydenko has raced to a straight-sets win over Thomas Johansson. The Russian could play Marat Safin next – tasty.

1745: “The inconsistency from both women has been disappointing – you feel it’s totally there for the taking for either one of them.”
Jonathan Overend on BBCi

1715: Play is under way again and apparently things are looking good for up to two hours of uninterrupted action.

1654: Would you believe it? The covers are coming off so we might get to see some action soon. Mauresmo and Savchuk will be hoping they can get back out there and finish their match off, not sure if we’ll get to see Nadal and Bellucci though.

1626: At least 30 of Tuesday’s 72 matches have now been postponed, including top seed Maria Sharapova’s encounter against Evgeniya Rodina. There will be more to come.

1550: After much sweeping away of water, the covers are about to come off. Then it starts to chuck it down again. You can forget about 1600 BST, I’m afraid.

1444: Apparently there will be no play before 1600 BST. This is no great surprise, bearing in mind it’s still raining. I am told that only 25 of 56 first-round matches were completed on Monday, stats fans.

1417: Well, we had a good run but the rain is back and the covers are firmly on. What had begun yesterday afternoon as a Rafael Nadal v Thomaz Bellucci clockwatch is now turning into a rainwatch.

The men’s champion will not be in action until Amelie Mauresmo and Olga Savchuk finish their match, with Mauresmo currently leading by a set without looking too convincing. Stay tuned for weather updates.

1240: Amelie Mauresmo and Olga Savchuk are waiting to come out while everyone looks nervously at the sky. In charge of operations and apparently taking the Alan Mills role is a, frankly, very attractive blonde lady. Well done France. More importantly, the players are now out on court. You can follow this one through our live scores, I’ll be back to cover Nadal v Bellucci… fingers crossed.

1225: Look sharp everyone! The covers are off, they’re sweeping the court and we might just get some action soon.

1112: And people moan about Wimbledon, eh? No change in Paris where the rain continues to fall.

1029: I should point out that Nadal and Bellucci are scheduled second on Philippe Chatrier Court after Amelie Mauresmo takes on Olga Savchuk. We’re going to get an official weather update at 1100 BST, but unofficially I can confirm that the covers are on and steadily filling with rain.

TUESDAY 1000: After an exciting couple of trips across London I am back to confirm that it is still raining in Paris, and the start of day three will be delayed until at least 1100 BST. Judging by the weather forecast, we may not get much play today.

MONDAY 1809: There we have it, play is officially suspended for the day. Come back bright and early tomorrow and we’ll have another go.

1801: “Thomaz, with “z”, is usual in Brazil (see 1530 entry) . Though the 1943 orthographic reform changed it to “Tomás”, many parents prefer the archaic name out of fancy. So we can find both, Thomaz or Tomás, or even Thomas. We had another good player of the same name, Thomaz Koch (Roland Garros quarterfinals, 1968).”
From andrefontenelle on 606

1743: Seventeen matches have been postponed for the day. The rain has actually eased off a little, but the covers are still on. Reminds me of Wimbledon last year. Grim.

1740: “Bleak scene at RG. Bellucci has only played six atp matches with one win! haha rafa is unbeaten in french open, im not gonna lie, it doesnt look good for the young brazillian!”
FromWill, Southampton, via text on 81111

1606: “Rain rain go away come again another day I wana c my Rafa play.”
From Sonia, London, via text on 81111

1532: The covers are coming across on Phillipe Chatrier Court – rest assured we’ll be back whenever the action starts.

1530: If there are any Brazilians out there, can you let us know if the use of ‘z’ in Thomaz is a regular thing, or does it suggest that Mr Bellucci has added it for a bit of glamour? By the way, it’s raining properly in Paris so there’s a bit of a delay.

1520: OK, so the facts and figures don’t stack up too well for Thomaz Bellucci here. While Rafael Nadal is the three-time defending champion, unbeaten at Roland Garros, and increasingly viewed by many as the greatest clay-courter of all time, Thomaz has a less glittering CV.

The man from Tiete, Brazil, has played just six ATP level matches in his career and won only one in 2008. Still, he came through three matches in qualifying, seeing off Martin Slanar, Ivo Klec and Tomas Zib no less.

And at 20 years old he has a year on Nadal, so maybe he’ll be able to tire the older man out. It’s a plan….

Story from BBC SPORT


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