The French Open was plunged into a sexism row on Friday after the decision to move the women's semi-finals was blasted as "unfair, inappropriate" and "shameful".

The final two women's quarter-finals were played Thursday night with the semi-finals pushed back until Friday after torrential rain washed out all of Wednesday's play.

However, the semi-final between Ashleigh Barty and Amanda Anisimova is now set to be played on Court Suzanne Lenglen while Johanna Konta's match with Marketa Vondrousova was shifted to the smaller 5,000-seat Court Simonne-Mathieu.

The men's semis between Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic taking on Dominic Thiem will be played on the main, 15,000-seat Court Philippe Chatrier as planned.


WTA chief executive Steve Simon said they were "extremely disappointed" by both women's semi-finals being re-scheduled on outside courts.

"The four women who have played so well and made it this far have earned their right to play on the biggest stage," Simon said.

"We believe other solutions were possible which would have been to the benefit of fans as well as all players."

Roger Federer. Photo / Getty
Roger Federer. Photo / Getty

Complicating the picture further is the threat of more rain on Friday, raising the prospect of the women's final being moved to Sunday and the men's to Monday.

Tournament director Guy Forget had admitted that moving the women's semi-finals to smaller courts could be seen as a controversial decision.

"You're afraid that some players might feel that it's a lack of respect or we are just trying to diminish it — no," he said.

"Ideally, when you see historically what has happened in the tournament, we try to be fair to everyone."

France's former world number one and two-time major winner Amelie Mauresmo blasted the decision.


She said she believed the men's and women's semi-finals should be split between Chatrier and the 10,000-capacity Lenglen.

"It is shameful for our tournament," tweeted the 49-year-old. "Everyone agrees that the match of the day is Federer/Nadal. But what message are we sending by taking the decision to put the two women's semi-finals on at 11am on the second and third courts? No match on the centre court?"

"It's simple to open Lenglen and Chatrier and have the two women's matches at 1pm followed by the two men's."

Ashleigh Barty serves during her ladies singles quarter-final match. Photo / Getty
Ashleigh Barty serves during her ladies singles quarter-final match. Photo / Getty

Meanwhile, Anisimova, the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final at just 17-year-old, said she had no objections to playing on a smaller court.

"Neither of them on Chatrier? I didn't know that," said the teenager when first told that she would not be playing on the main court.

"Actually, I'm really happy that I get to play tomorrow," added the American, who is the first player born in the 2000s to get to the last-four of a major.


"I don't have to wait a whole day, because I get really eager to want to go on the court, so I'm happy I get to play tomorrow. They are all beautiful courts."