Extreme heat and heavy rain caused a scheduling backlog at the Australian Open after a host of matches had to be postponed on Tuesday evening – and that was just the start of the drama.
7AM – AUSTRALIAN OPEN’S SCHEDULING FARCE
The Australian Open’s scheduling backlog and weather issues led to the farcical situation where players went to sleep not knowing whether they were playing at 11am – or 8pm.
The tournament was brutalised by Melbourne’s notoriously fickle weather on Tuesday, with delays first forced by scorching heat and later from a thunderstorm, forcing a major backlog of matches to be completed on Wednesday and a scheduling nightmare for officials.
As the clock approached midnight, players were still waiting for an official order of play for Wednesday’s action – with veteran Belgian doubles star Kirsten Flipkens
“11:50pm.. I wont be one of them but how can you let the players play at 11am, if you still dont have a schedule at this time?” Flipkens posted on Twitter.
The schedule was officially released shortly after midnight, with all early fixtures to be postponed round one matches – which includes Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is two games away from a straight sets victory over Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
“Past midnight in Melbourne and no order of play for tomorrow apart from the three biggest stadiums,” said tennis writer Jose Morgado.
“I guess they were already thinking they wouldn’t finish today’s matches. But most of the players have no idea at what time they have to wake up tomorrow. Special sport.”
From last night, 11 matches were suspended, while nine didn’t even start and there are three still to finish today under the roof.
In total, there are 23 singles round 1 matches to finish – and with further rain expected in Melbourne, there’s no guarantee they will all be completed by the end of day three.
OPEN OFFICIALS FACE NIGHTMARE SCHEDULING DRAMA
– TIM MICHELL AND SAM LANDSBERGER
Extreme heat in the afternoon. Torrential rain in the evening.
Melbourne delivered on its famous ‘four seasons in one day’ reputation on day two of the Australian Open to leave organisers with a juggling act to clear a backlog of matches.
Several women’s games which were due to be played on the outside courts on Tuesday afternoon and evening had to be postponed.
At 11.30pm on Tuesday night there were still matches rolling on a staggering 14 courts, including a four-hour and five-set epic on Court 13 between lucky loser Michael Mmoh (USA) and qualifier Laurent Lokoli (France) and an all-American women’s match on Court 8 that started after 11pm.
News Corp understands that as the clock ticked towards midnight tournament organisers were meeting to discuss bringing Wednesday’s start time forward to 10am.
That extra hour would help ease the sudden scheduling cram, with 11 first-round matches that should’ve already been completed yet to begin.
By the end of day two 10 men’s and 12 women’s matches were either yet to start or require finishing, leaving the tournament 22 results behind par.
The matches that require rescheduling include No.8 women’s seed Daria Kasatkina’s battle against Varvara Gracheva, No.14 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia against Nuria Parrizas Diaz and the all-French affair between Richard Gasquet and Ugo Humbert.
The lucky loser who replaced Nick Kyrgios, Denis Kudla, also failed to start his campaign.
There were frustrating scenes on the outside courts as ball kids and officials worked furiously to try and mop up water, only for more rain to fall earlier when Kokkinakis and Fognini were ready to start.
The extra matches could yet have flow-on effects in coming days with between 2-15mm of rain predicted in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Originally published as Australian Open 2023 day 3 live scores, schedule, order of play