Play resumes amid Open fixture chaos

Play has resumed on the Melbourne Park outside courts as Australian Open organisers hope to avoid more rain amid a backlog of delayed matches.

Bleak weather in Melbourne across Tuesday and Wednesday threatened to throw the Australian Open schedule into complete chaos.

Organisers already had to scramble to cram 22 cancelled or postponed first-round singles matches from Tuesday into the day-three program before more rain compounded their troubles.

Early play on Wednesday was confined to Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and John Cain Arena, which all have roofs.

But no play was possible on the outside courts until after 1700 AEDT as showers continued under grey skies throughout the afternoon.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis was due to resume his first-round match against Fabio Fognini on Wednesday but had to wait for Bianca Andreescu and Cristina Bucsa to finish their second-round clash on Kia Arena.

Kokkinakis was only five points away from a potential straight-sets win over Fognini on Tuesday night, leading 6-1 6-2 4-2 with the Italian serving at 15-40 before the court was closed.

The extreme heat policy was implemented on Tuesday with the temperature soaring into the high-30s, leading to almost three hours of delays.

That was followed by evening showers which forced more stoppages.

Kokkinakis' fellow Australians Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic were also among the players hoping to finish their respective first-round matches on Wednesday.

Vukic was part way through his clash with American qualifier Brandon Holt, trailing 6-4 1-6 4-2.

Purcell was about to enter a potentially decisive fourth-set tiebreak with Emil Ruusuvuori, down 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-6 against the Finn.