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Rediff.com  » Sports » French Open Sidelights: Freak accident at Roland Garros!

French Open Sidelights: Freak accident at Roland Garros!

June 03, 2015 11:37 IST

Spectators look to the corner of the court

Spectators look to the corner of the court as play stopped after a piece of the roof from Court Philippe Chatrier blew off in high winds into the stand. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

On a day when Stanislas Wawrinka would have hoped to bask in the glory of beating his celebrated rival Roger Federer 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4) for the first time on a Grand Slam stage, it was a freak accident that set the claycourt major abuzz.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had whipped the delirious Court Philippe Chatrier crowd into a frenzy as he charged into a 6-1, 5-2 lead against Japan's Kei Nishikori when piercing screams were suddenly heard from high up in the stands.

Spectators help lift a piece of the roof from Court Philippe Chatrier

Spectators help lift a piece of the roof from Court Philippe Chatrier that blew off in high winds during the men's quarter final match. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

A large rectangular metal panel had fallen from underneath the TV commentary boxes, hitting spectators on the top row.

The incident even caught umpire Carlos Bernardes unaware, as he tried to resume the contest by calling for 'Quiet Please' before he realised that everyone was distracted by the mishap which left a silver-haired spectator and two others injured.

Paramedics assist spectators injured after a piece of the roof from Court Philippe   Chatrier

Paramedics assist spectators injured after a piece of the roof from Court Philippe Chatrier that blew off in high winds during the men's quarter final match. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

As the stricken fans were led away by first-aiders, Tsonga and Nishikori were ushered off court for what turned out to be a 40-minute disruption, during which 12 rows of spectators were evacuated and the area cordoned off.

The unexpected break initially did nothing to stall Tsonga's momentum and he returned to finish off Nishikori in the second set.

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