(Tops with 9 grafs about scheduling controversy)
Spain's Rafael Nadal blasted the scheduling decisions of French Open organizers after winning his second-round match Friday, taking exception to a late start time the day before despite rain in the forecast.
"I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of (Thursday) was wrong," Nadal said after rallying to defeat Slovakia's Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. "That's the real thing."
"I don't know if the director of the tournament, supervisors, guys who take the positions, they take a bad position two days ago, because when you make the schedule at 7:00 in the (evening), not 11:00 in the morning, you know which weather predictions you have for the next days," the Spaniard added.
"I cannot play third after men's and girls (on Thursday) when my possible opponent plays second after girls. That's not fair. And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room."
He was referring to his third-round rival on Saturday, Italy's Fabio Fognini, who managed to complete his scheduled second-round match on Thursday despite the intermittent rain.
"So if you told me that's fair, I say that's not fair. The only thing that I can do is be positive, smile, and try to win my match and try to be ready for tomorrow."
Because of the rainy conditions on Thursday, Nadal and several other players in the top half of the men's singles draw were forced to play their second-round matches on Friday even though the tournament had gotten underway five days earlier.
American John Isner, for example, spent nearly four hours on court in his come-from-behind 5-7, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6 victory Friday over countryman Ryan Harrison, and now will have to play his third-round match Saturday against Germany's Tommy Haas.
Meanwhile, Nadal, who has won a record seven French Open men's singles titles, must win six best-of-five matches in just 10 days to lift the trophy once again.
In other results Friday, No. 2 seed Roger Federer cruised into the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
The Swiss great will next take on Frenchman Gilles Simon, who edged American Sam Querrey 2-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.
Federer can extend his streak of Grand Slam quarterfinal berths to 36 - dating back to the 2004 Wimbledon - with a win on Sunday.
Also on the bottom half of the men's draw, Spain's David Ferrer, the No. 4 seed, continued his strong play at this year's French Open with a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 victory Friday over countryman Feliciano Lopez.
In women's action Friday, American world No. 1 Serena Williams cruised into the fourth round by routing Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-2, while second-seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia finished off a rain-delayed 6-2, 6-4 second-round victory over Canada's Eugenie Bouchard.
The French Open is the second Grand Slam event on the tennis calendar and the year's biggest tournament on clay. EFE