PARIS (AFP) –
Highly-rated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov reached the French Open second round while Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm bowed out Tuesday as torrential rain caused havoc at Roland Garros.
Dimitrov, dubbed ‘Baby Federer’ because of his similar style to the 17-time Grand Slam winner, went through to the last 64 when Colombian opponent Alejandro Falla retired with the Bulgarian 26th seed 6-4, 1-0 to the good.
The 22-year-old Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, could face world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Dimitrov was just one of three winners in early action on Tuesday after heavy rain caused a three-hour delay to the start of the programme.
Barely 90 minutes of play was possible before the rain returned.
“I am happy that I finished the match. It’s never easy to play the first round in a Grand Slam especially with the weather the way that it was,” said Dimitrov, who is seeded at a major for the first time.
He has enjoyed a breakthrough year, defeating Djokovic in the second round in Rome and making a first Masters quarter-final in Monte Carlo where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
World number 83 Date-Krumm, who played her first Roland Garros in 1989 — three years before Dimitrov was born — probably wished it had kept on raining.
The 42-year-old Japanese lost 6-0, 6-2 to Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 runner-up and former US Open winner.
Date-Krumm became the third oldest player to compete in women’s singles in the tournament — Martina Navratilova holding the record at 47 and 232 days from her 2004 showing.
Fully 57 players in this year’s women’s singles draw were not even born when Date-Krumm made her Roland Garros debut.
“Stosur is so strong and she’s a specialist on clay,” said Date-Krumm.
“Today she didn’t make mistakes because I couldn’t put her under pressure.”
Djokovic begins his campaign later Tuesday but faces a frustrating day battling the showers as well as Belgian opponent David Goffin.
Top seed Djokovic, the runner-up to Nadal last year, has already defended his Australian Open in 2013 and halted Nadal’s attempt to win a ninth successive Monte Carlo Masters last month.
The Serb needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.
Goffin, the 22-year-old, world number 57 from Liege, enjoyed a stunning debut at the French Open last year when he came through qualifying as a lucky loser to reach the last 16 where he took a set off Federer before losing in four.
Goffin has yet to get beyond the third round of a tour event in 2013.
Also in action on Tuesday are women’s third seed Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, who faces Russia’s experienced Elena Vesnina.
Azarenka has never got out of the quarter-finals in Paris but she holds a 4-0 career winning record over the 36-ranked Vesnina who has suffered six first round losses at the French Open.
Meanwhile, troubled Australian Bernard Tomic was also in action against Romania’s Victor Hanescu.
When the rain came Tuesday, the 20-year-old had dropped the first set and was facing a second set tiebreak.
His controversial father had over-shadowed the build-up.
John Tomic had his tournament credentials withdrawn after he was charged with assaulting his son’s training partner in Madrid earlier this month.
Roland Garros then barred him from attending as a spectator.Published 28 May 2013, 22:47 IST