Djokovic's French Open bid held up as 5,000 fans told to quit stadium

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Closing time: Spectators leave Court Philippe Chatrier due to the 11pm curfew
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Novak Djokovic's bid to reach a 40th Grand Slam semi-final was held up Wednesday when 5,000 fans had to be shunted away at the French Open to conform with a Covid-19 curfew.

Djokovic was 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 3-2 ahead in his quarter-final against Matteo Berrettini when play was halted just before 11pm to allow spectators to leave.

Some fans chanted: "We are going to stay, we are going to stay" before they relented and filed out of Court Philippe Chatrier.

"We paid 500 euros for two and a half sets of a match. It's unacceptable," said one man watching the quarter-final with his wife and two children.

"They should have started at 7pm and not 8pm."

Wednesday was the 10th and final evening session of the tournament.

However, it was the first which welcomed spectators after Covid-19 restrictions were eased and a 9pm curfew pushed back to 11pm.

Both Djokovic and Berrettini left the court while the stadium was cleared with the match resuming around 20 minutes later.

The winner of the tie will face 13-time champion Rafael Nadal for a place in the final.

The previous nine evening sessions had been played out to an empty Court Philippe Chatrier in line with the 9pm limit.

The evening action was introduced this year under an agreement between the French tennis federation and streaming giant Amazon.

Second seed Daniil Medvedev, who lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Tuesday, was furious at the absence of fans.

"It was without a doubt the match of the day but Roland Garros preferred Amazon to people," said the Russian.

dj/mw

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