PARIS - A photo of Maria Sharapova graced the cover of the French Open's official daily program yesterday, which might be considered false advertising.
That's because the No. 1-ranked woman didn't play a single point, forced by the wet weather to wait instead until at least Day 4 of the tournament to begin her quest to complete a career Grand Slam.
Rafael Nadal played two games of his opening match before collecting his things and trundling off center court, the start of his bid for a fourth consecutive title at the clay-court major halted by one of a series of showers.
Only 13 of 72 scheduled matches were completed, but fourth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 13 Dinara Safina, No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 22 Amelie Mauresmo all won and advanced to the second round.
Yes, Wimbledon has come to Roland Garros, with rain affecting action on all 3 days so far and allowing for less than 3 hours of play yesterday. While the All England Club is constructing a dome over Centre Court ahead of the 2009 championship, the French tennis federation has said it might build a retractable roof by 2012.
"We definitely would like to have that," said Mauresmo, a Frenchwoman who overcame nine double-faults and 35 total unforced errors to beat Olga Savchuk 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
While it's too early in the tournament for concern about fitting everything in, players such as Sharapova or Nadal - whose match originally was on Monday's slate before being postponed a first time, and eventually will resume at 1-1 in the first set - face the prospect of playing on consecutive days if they proceed through the draw.
But Nadal played for 7 days in a row last year at Wimbledon, where he reached the final before losing to Roger Federer.
"For Nadal, doesn't matter," said No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who eliminated 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. "He can play today, tomorrow, after tomorrow . . . It's no problem for him."
In addition to Davydenko and No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka, other men's winners included Mario Ancic and Robin Soderling.
Ancic - the last man to beat Federer at Wimbledon, all the way back in 2002 - eliminated No. 31 Andreas Seppi, while Soderling defeated No. 13 Juan Monaco. *