Rain delays play at Wimbledon

Play was called off for the day at Wimbledon everywhere except Centre Court as light rain fell at the All England club on Friday.

Top seed Rafael Nadal was a set up against Gilles Muller on Court One when the match was halted and the Spanish defending champion will resume on Saturday.

Home hope Andy Murray started his third-round match against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic under the Centre Court roof.

Twice champion Nadal appeared below his usual energetic best and took a medical time out after falling towards the end of the first set moments before the wet weather arrived.

The Spaniard edged the tiebreak 8-6 against Luxembourg’s Muller, the only player other than Roger Federer to beat Nadal at Wimbledon since 2005.

Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka made short work of Daniela Hantuchova in the deciding set after they resumed under the Centre Court roof, while on Court 18 last year’s runner-up and sixth seed Tomas Berdych was on the brink of victory over American Alex Bogomolov Jr.

Crashes
Three-time runner-up Andy Roddick and women’s second seed Vera Zvonareva crashed out of Wimbledon on Friday as Maria Sharapova survived a gutsy challenge from British 17-year-old Laura Robson.

Eighth seed Andy Roddick, beloved by the Wimbledon crowd after his epic 2009 final defeat by Roger Federer, looked a shadow of his former self in a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 loss to Spanish serve-and-volleyer Feliciano Lopez.

Roddick had won all seven of his previous meetings with Lopez, but the Spaniard, twice a quarter-finalist, served brilliantly and stopped Roddick establishing his all-consuming power game.

The world number 44’s reward is a clash against either French ninth seed Gael Monfils or Lukasz Kubot of Poland for a quarter-final place.

World No. 2 Zvonareva followed Roddick out of the exit door when she slumped to a 6-2, 6-3 defeat against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, the woman she beat in the semi-finals in 2010.

Pironkova next faces five-time winner Venus Williams, a year after beating the American 23rd seed in the quarter-finals.

Williams reached the last 16 with a 6-0, 6-2 mauling of Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

“I’m feeling good and it’s great to be ready for the second week and I’ve got a couple of days off to get things in order,” Williams said.

“Last year I wasn’t on my best game but this year I’m going to look forward to playing a bit better than I did last time.”

Sharapova, the fifth seed, recovered from 4-1 down in the first set to reach the third round with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Robson, playing on a wildcard and ranked at 254 in the world.

The 2004 champion will face Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic for a place in the last 16 on Saturday.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki eased into the third round playing on the same Court Two that sparked Serena Williams’s bitter accusations of favouritism 24 hours earlier.

World number one Wozniacki defeated France’s Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3 in a second round match held over from Thursday and next faces Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova for a last-16 place.

Russian 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was a third-round loser with the former US Open and French Open champion slipping to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat by Belgian 19th seed Yanina Wickmayer.

German 11th seed Andrea Petkovic was also a third round flop, losing 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to Russia’s Ksenia Pervak, but eighth seeded Czech Petra Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2010, eased past Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-3, 6-3.—AFP, Reuters

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