Wimbledon: Weather sees players facing tricky schedule
Stanislas Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, is among a group of men who will have to play five matches in seven days this week if they reach next Sunday's Wimbledon final.
The rain which wiped out nearly six hours of play here on Saturday has disrupted the planned schedule, presenting a huge challenge to the likes of Wawrinka and John Isner, the world No 11.
Unlike the other three Grand Slam tournaments, Wimbledon has a rest day on the middle Sunday. The intention is always to complete all third-round matches by Saturday, after which the 16 players left in the men's singles and the 16 in the women's event play their fourth-round matches on the second Monday.
That would ensure equal times of rest and preparation for all players. However, on this occasion the weather has disrupted Wimbledon's best-laid plans.
The top half of the men's draw, including Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, completed their third-round matches on Friday and will play in the fourth round today.
However, the fourth-round matches in the bottom half will now be played tomorrow because three third-round matches in the section are still to be completed today. The matches between Wawrinka and Denis Istomin and between Isner and Feliciano Lopez did not even start on Saturday.
As a result, if the winners of the latter matches keep on winning this week they will have to play on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, assuming the weather does not intervene. The forecast for the next few days is good, with temperatures climbing towards the end of the week.
In the women's singles, six of the eight fourth-round matches will be played today.
Simona Halep and Zarina Dyas, who will have to wait until tomorrow, are in the same section of the draw as the third-round matches between Ana Ivanovic and Sabine Lisicki and between Madison Keys and Yaroslava Shvedova, which will be completed today.
If any of the latter four players make it to the final they will have to play five times in the next six days.
The Ivanovic-Lisicki match on Court One was called off early in the second set on Saturday night, Lisicki having won the first set, but remarkable efforts were made to complete the other third-round match out on No 12 Court 12.
Keys, having lost the first set, was leading 6-5 in the second set but then called for the trainer.
The American took a medical time-out to have her left thigh strapped, but if she was expecting play to be called off for the day at that point she was disappointed.
At 9.31pm, with the scoreboard lights glowing brightly in the deepening darkness, the match resumed.
Keys, who was moving with great difficulty, lost the next game, leaving a tie-break to be played. At first the umpire seemed to suggest the match should continue, but with the clock showing 9.36pm play was suspended for the day. They will resume at 11.30 this morning.