The Latest: Rain beginning to clear at Melbourne Park

Kei Nishikori of Japan serves to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
AP

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The latest from the Australian Open on Friday (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

The rain is beginning to clear at Melbourne Park and tournament officials hope to get play on outside courts started.

Seven doubles matches have already been postponed until Saturday, and more could follow. Matches had been scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

All but two of the 16 third-round men's and women's singles matches were scheduled Friday at the three stadiums which have roofs.

At Rod Laver Arena, the match between fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova and American Lauren Davis has gone to a deciding set after Sharapova won the first set 6-1 and Davis took the second-set tiebreaker 7-6 (5).

2:20 p.m.

Kei Nishikori has reached the fourth round for the fifth consecutive year with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

The Japanese player had a medical timeout at the end of the first set for a problem with his wrist, but didn't look impeded as he closed out in the match in just under three hours.

He said after the match that after he got treatment, the wrist ''got better.''

The seventh-seeded Nishikori saved eight of 11 break points, including three at 5-3 in the third set when he was serving for a two-sets-to-one lead.

1:05 p.m.

Belinda Bencic has become the first player to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening match Friday on Rod Laver Arena.

With the roof closed and play on outdoor courts delayed because of to steady rain, the 12th-seeded Bencic overcame a slow start to dominate the final two sets of the 1 hour, 50-minute match.

Bencic, the first Swiss woman to advance to the final 16 here since Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder in 2007, will play either fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova or American Lauren Davis in the next round.

Tournament officials said play would not be possible on outdoor courts until at least 2:30 p.m., and the rain was still falling at Melbourne Park.

11:35 a.m.

Rain has delayed the start of play Friday on outdoor courts at the Australian Open.

Play began on time at the three covered stadiums, including a third-round match between 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine on the main Rod Laver Arena.

Over on Margaret Court Arena, seventh-seeded and 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori was playing Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. At Hisense Arena, David Goffin played Dominic Thiem.

Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were set to play night matches Friday. The top-seeded Djokovic was scheduled to play Andreas Seppi while six-time champion Williams took on Daria Kasatkina of Russia.