Jul 3 2012 By Colin Mackenzie
The Centre Court roof, deployed for the last five days at the championships, has thrown up a situation of unintended consequences due to the continuing inclement weather.
Those who play under the roof complete their matches and enjoy rest days while those on other courts suffer the disadvantage of delay and disruption to their schedules.
The first time Andy Murray was absent from the Centre Court yesterday was a case in point. He will have to complete his unfinished match on Court One with Marin Cilic (currently 7-5, 3-1 in Murray's favour) today and faces the victor of David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro (also delayed until today) tomorrow.
Meanwhile the winners on the Centre Court Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic can enjoy a day's rest. Of the other male quarter finalists only Mikhail Youzhny, who now faces Federer, managed to complete his match when defeating Dennis Istomin in five hotly contested sets.
It also meant that Centre Court patrons, while enjoying three matches unlike those on the outside courts, were subjected to two near walkovers when Djokovic beat fellow Serb Victor Troicki and Victoria Azaranka annihilated Anna Ivanovic. Only Roger Federer's injury stricken performance against Xavier Malisse which he won in four sets provided any uncertainty or excitement.
It all added up to a day of dissatisfaction for the 40,000 plus crowd who traditionally turn up for the best day's tennis of the tournament. Weather permitting, however, today's action, with the four women's quartter finals and the completion of unfinished business for the men, should be even better. Weather forecasters remained pessimistic.
Murray lost his opening service game to Cilic, repeating a worrying phenomenon he has introduced this Wimbledon, and went 2-0 down in the opening set. But then he broke back to level against an opponent who seemed overawed by the occasion. Despite not being at his best Murray broke again at 6-5 up to win the first set. He quickly broke the Croat's serve again in the second set and is poised to complete a quick victory unless Cilic can refocus.
Earlier on Court One Maria Sharapova's bid to win back to back Grand Slams collapsed when she was outgunned and outplayed by Sabine Lisicki whom she had beaten in last year's semi final. The 22-year-old German, who faces fellow countrywoman Angelique Kerber in today's quarter final, won convincingly 6-4, 6-3, a massive second serve ace completing the demolition on match point.
The No 1 seed who won the French championhips four weeks ago tried her level best but could not match the power of the Lisicki serve or forehand. Her own serve was fragile with more double faults than she could afford. Her game is high risk and when she is not 100 per cent accurate it can fail spectacularly.
Afterwards Sharapova said; "I had chances but I didn't take them. But she played extremely well and you just have to hand it to her. If she serves as well as she did today and is as aggressive as she was there's no doubt she has a lot of potential."
Lisicki who had lost all three of her previous encounters with the World No 1 player smiled her way to victory, winning over a large proportion of the No 1 Court crowd. Her enthusiasm was infectious and she clearly relishes the grass surface wjhich brings out the best in her game.
She said; "I enjoy the sport. I just love playing tennis and I love being out there, especially at my favourite tournament in feront of such a knowledgable crowd. I smile, because even if miss a shot by a little I was going for the right one, so there's nothing to be mad about. I've been playing better with each match and better each year so we'll see where I end up."
Kerber, now World No 8, has also been playing well at Wimbledon, consigning the ever popular Kim Clijsters to the retirement bench 6-1, 6-1 wirth some blistering all court play. She will prove to a formidable opponent for Lisicki over whom she has a winning record.
Serena Williams continues to struggle to win although she mastered rising Kazak star Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. At five games all in the final set it began to drizzle causing Shvedova to have to remove her prescription glasses. A more experienced player might have asked for the match to be stopped. It enabled the powerful Williams, now favourite for the title, to muscle her way through. Afterwards she was mobbed by dozens of excited fans.
She said; "I literally was almost knocked over. There were security guards in there just going nuts and screaming. I've never heard them scream so loud. I thought I was going to fall down. Maybe it can be taken into consideration ( because she was on Court Two). No, I wasn't scared - no one is going to knock me over, for real. I'd like to see that happen."
Roger Federer, who rarely if ever suffers injury problems, called for the trainer during his match with Malisse. The Swiss six-times Wimbledon champion has not missed a Grand Slam since the beginning of the century (51 in total). For the last 32 of those he has never failed to reach the last eight - a truly astonishing statistic.
Federer said later; "I felt my back going at the start of the first set. I guess it must be a mix of the five setter in the last round, the two days off and the cold wind today. I'm honestly not too conceerned. I've had bad backs over the years - they go as quickly as they come.
"Of course I have to keep an eye on it but two good nights' sleep and I'll be 100 per cent on Wednesday. I'm pretty convinced otherwise I wouldn't have been to pull out the match the way I did."