Paris: Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova reached the French Open second round as Roland Garros got off to a damp, chilly start.
Kyrgios claimed he was the victim of biased officiating at the French Open on Sunday as torrential rain caused havoc, allowing just 10 of the scheduled 32 matches to be completed.
Kyrgios overcame a first-set code violation to defeat Italy's Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.
The 17th seed picked up the warning for screaming at a ball boy on a shivering Court One where the temperature refused to budge above 15 degrees.
Kyrgios insisted he only screamed at the youngster during the first-set tiebreak because he wanted his towel.
He then accused umpire Carlos Ramos of "unbelievable bias" for dishing out the violation.
That was a reference to world number one Novak Djokovic escaping a sanction for shoving the arm of umpire Carlos Bernardes at the Rome Masters last week.
"All of us in this room know that if that was me, it would have been a circus. The fact that nothing happened (to Djokovic) speaks for itself," said Kyrgios who ranted on court that Ramos's decision was "fucking bullshit".
The code violation was handed down when Kyrgios screamed "towel" at the ballboy.
"When I get my towel I always say 'thank you' to the ballboys but sometimes you get mad at them," added Kyrgios.
Despite the controversy, Kyrgios recovered his composure to see off world number 124 Cecchinato who had two set points in the second set.
He next faces Dutch lucky loser Igor Sijsling.
The 21-year-old Australian fired 16 aces and 50 winners on his way to victory as he attempts to go beyond his best performance in Paris -- a third-round exit to Andy Murray 12 months ago.
Czechs at the double
Kyrgios's latest brush with the authorities came on a day when heavy rain pushed 22 matches back to Monday.
Sixteen of those ties had yet to be started, victims of a delay of almost three hours in the afternoon.
Play resumed just before 1800 (1600GMT), but only 30 more minutes of action was possible before the miserable smattering of spectators were put out of their misery.
Czech 10th seed Petra Kvitova survived a scare to beat Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was two points away from defeat when she trailed the world number 57 at 4-5 in the decider.
But she claimed the next three games and goes on to face Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh for a place in the last 32.
Kvitova, a semi-finalist in Paris in 2012, committed 10 double faults in a typically roller-coaster display against an opponent who made the Istanbul final on clay this season.
Hsieh made the second round by beating Spain's Lara Arruabarrena 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.
Also going through was last year's runner-up Lucie Safarova who won the first eight games in her 6-0, 6-2 win over Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.
Safarova, the 11th seeded Czech whose form has been compromised this year by a bacterial infection, needed just 56 minutes to beat world number 223 Diatchenko who was playing for the first time since injuring her left foot at the 2015 US Open.
Benoit Paire, the French 19th seed, gave the hosts a winning start with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot.
When rain halted play Sunday, Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori, a quarter-finalist in 2015, was looking to secure his 50th Grand Slam triumph against Italy's Simone Bolelli.
He was leading 6-1, 7-5, 2-1.
Meanwhile, defending champion Stan Wawrinka insisted that last year's stunning triumph over Djokovic would have little bearing on his chances this time round.
The 31-year-old Swiss, seeded three, only arrived in Paris on Saturday night after clinching his hometown Geneva clay-court title.
"I watched some highlights of the final. I never watched it completely," said Wawrinka, who starts his campaign on Monday against Lukas Rosol, the Czech he defeated in the Geneva semi-finals on Friday.
"But it was one year ago. It's a completely different story."
Published Date: May 23, 2016 01:30 AM | Updated Date: May 23, 2016 02:23 AM