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French Open: Rain shelters struggling Novak Djokovic during last-16

Paris: World No 1 Novak Djokovic dropped the first set of his French Open last-16 clash against Roberto Bautista Agut before heavy rain came to his rescue yesterday.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

The top seed, chasing an elusive first title in Paris and a career Grand Slam, came onto Court Philippe Chatrier with light rain still falling. Only 37 minutes of play was possible, but in that time the Serb star was broken three times while carving out two breaks of his own.

The 29-year-old will cross the $100 million career prize money barrier if he makes a 10th Roland Garros quarter-final. But having lost the first set 6-3 in heavy, slow conditions, he was relieved to leave behind the ghostly show court at 1245 local time (1045GMT) where just a smattering of spectators, huddled beneath umbrellas, braved the miserable chill.

Yesterday's schedule had already been delayed by an hour after Monday's programme was washed away, the first such wipeout in 16 years. Djokovic had a 4-0 career edge over 14th seed Bautista Agut going into yesterday's match and won their last clash on clay in Madrid for the loss of just three games.

Play was called off for the night at the French Open at 1900 local time (1700GMT) yesterday after a rain-hit day which allowed around just two hours of play. The men's quarters to be held over until today.

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