Wawrinka relieved, Murray on the brink

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka breathed a huge sigh of relief and Andy Murray faced a sleepless night after both got bogged down by belligerent Czechs at a sodden French Open.

A day that began two hours late after torrential rain ended with world number two Murray hanging on against 37-year-old Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek having lost the opening two sets in the Philippe Chatrier Court gloom.

When play was finally suspended on Monday, Murray had repaired some of the damage but still trailed 3-6 3-6 6-0 4-2.

Third seed Wawrinka did book his place in the second round, although his path to victory against straight-hitting Lukas Rosol was equally tortuous.

The Swiss twice trailed by a set before he scratched out a 4-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

Wawrinka won on his third match point, happy to have avoided becoming the first defending men’s champion to lose his opening match since Australian Lew Hoad in 1957.

It was touch and go, however, as Rosol, who famously knocked out Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon second round in 2012, threatened another huge upset with his murderous groundstrokes.

“A really tough match, the conditions were slow and heavy,” Wawrinka, who only arrived on Saturday hours after winning the Geneva title, said.

“He kept me under pressure permanently. I kept running after the score. You can’t really relax.”

Wawrinka plays Japan’s Taro Daniel next.

Murray, second favourite to de-throne Wawrinka after world number one Novak Djokovic, had to wait until 7pm local time to take on tricky Stepanek, the oldest man in the draw.

He might have hoped to polish off the world number 128 in time for dinner, but Stepanek had other ideas.

With Murray off-key, Stepanek used his full range of slices, pinpoint forehands and bamboozling drop shots to torment the twice grand slam champion.

A fraught Murray dropped serve with a double-fault and conceded the opening set with a misfired forehand.

The second set went the same way as Stepanek delighted a sparse crowd with his repertoire.

Murray, scolding himself into action, waltzed the third set and was a break up in the fourth when play was stopped.

Seeds to advance on Monday included eighth seed Milos Raonic of Canada, who beat Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-5), while 23rd seeded American Jack Sock eliminated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3 7-5 3-6 6-7 (7-3) 6-2.

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Italy’s Simone Bolelli in straight sets 6-1 7-5 6-3, and the 22nd seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia was victorious over Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 2-6 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3

And 30th seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy defeated Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2.

But not everything went to plan for the seeds.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic, seeded 10, went down to Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 6-2.

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