Roof rescues rainy Wimbledon as Djokovic, Federer advance

Rain disrupted play for a second day on Wednesday at the Wimbledon Championships as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer motored to one-way wins under the closed roof of Centre Court.

While the rest of the field experienced an interruption of nearly four hours, while 16 second-round matches were cancelled, a lucky few were undisturbed on the showcourt.

Outside matches were suspended in the early afternoon due to the wet weather, expected to linger through the weekend. The players were able to get onto court in the early evening during a welcome dry period.

Top seed Djokovic had to serve twice for victory over Adrian Mannarino, winning 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) on his opponent's 28th birthday to reach the third round.

Federer ended the fairytale of number 772 club-pro Briton Marcus Willis, beating the rank outsider 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer won the first even games against the home player, who captured the imagination of the nation for 48 hours after coming through pre-qualifying and qualifying to reach the opening round, then miraculously advanced onto the match with the Swiss tennis icon.

"It was a very different match," Federer said. "He brought a lot of energy to the court with his play and personality.

"It's refreshing to play an opponent like this. He drew a crowd and had some great shotmaking.

"I had some pressure on my shoulders. But in my mind I was playing a guy ranked in the top 50. I'm feeling pretty good right now and happy to be in their third round."

Due to the rain and a poor forecast through the weekend, officials took the radical decision to cut the men's doubles first round to the best of three sets in order to eventually get things moving this week.

Djokovic's victory marked his 30th in a row at the grand slams as he bids for a fourth Wimbledon title and third at a major this season.

"When I failed to serve it out [leading 5-4 in the third set], the crowd really got into it," the top seed said. "I was fortunate to be playing under the roof.

"It helps to have the roof on days like this. The atmosphere when it is closed is special. It gets really loud.

"I cannot say I'm surprised by 30 straight wins, I have high expectations for myself. I'm grateful that I'm able to play at a high level so consistently."

Eighth seed Dominic Thiem beat Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round while 10th seed Tomas Berdych and Ivan Dodig took charge in a match that was paused from the day before.

They returned and finished their opening contest in drizzle, with Berdych posting a 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) win on his third match point.

Immediately after they left, the court was covered to join the 14 others buried under green tarps.

German teenager Alexander Zverev reached the second round over Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 while Bernard Tomic finished off Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Under the roof, women's third seed Agnieszka Radwanska turned in a quick 6-2, 6-1 first-round defeat of Kateryna Kozlova.

The 97th-ranked Ukrainian Kozlova served a six-month ban last season after testing positive for a banned supplement.

Radwanska reached the 2012 final and 2015 semis and remains untouchable in the Wimbledon first round with a 10-0 record.

"It's not good weather right now. I was really lucky to play on the Centre today, that's for sure," she said. "At least you can have your match, especially that is already one day delayed."

Two-time champion and tenth seed Petra Kvitova beat Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-4; Britain's number 16 Johanna Konta stopped Monica Puig 6-1, 7-5.

Last update: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 22:45

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