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Play at French Open halted after part of a giant TV screen falls onto fans

One spectator was injured in the incident.

Workers attempt to repair the screen.
Workers attempt to repair the screen.
Image: David Vincent/AP/Press Association Images

THE FRENCH OPEN quarter-final between Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was held up today when part of a giant video screen above the court was blown off in high winds, leaving at least one spectator injured.

The incident happened late in the second set when a sheet of metal, attached to a giant video screen and scoreboard, fell from high above the main Philippe Chatrier Court.

One man was seen being led away holding his head and arm as the court was buffeted by gusts reaching speeds of up to 40 km/h.

The match was suspended for around 30 minutes as fans were cleared away from the danger area.

Source: Steph Trudel

Tsonga was leading 5-2 in the second set at the time after taking the opener 6-1.

At least 12 rows of seats were then cleared and taped off beneath the area from where the debris fell.

Photographs showed the piece of metal to be around six metres long with spikes on one side, suggesting it was used to keep pigeons away from the huge screen, one of two positioned at opposite corners of the 14,911-capacity arena.

The incident is the latest to embarrass organisers of the French Open at the historic Roland Garros stadium.

On the opening day, there was a major security worry when a spectator leapt from the VIP boxes on the sidelines of the showpiece Philippe Chatrier arena to grab a selfie with Roger Federer as the Swiss star left the court.

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The 17-time Grand Slam winner had just completed a routine 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Colombia’s Alejandro Falla when he was shocked to see a young fan sprinting towards him.

“I am not happy about it. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that’s where you do your job, that’s where you want to feel safe,” said Federer.

In a match between Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire on Court Seven, a fight broke out between fans.

(C) AFP 2015

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