Men's semifinalists squeeze points out of a sodden day

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — WIMBLEDON, England - Yesterday wasn't a total washout at Wimbledon.

Neither men's semifinal match was completed, and when rain was still falling at 8 p.m., play was canceled.


Defending champion and top-seeded Roger Federer was well on his way to his 23rd straight grass-court victory, leading 10th-seed Sebastien Grosjean, 6-3, 6-3, 4-3, while second seed Andy Roddick was leading Mario Ancic, an unseeded 20-year-old Croatian, 6-4, 4-3.

Federer, who was playing flawlessly despite the on-and-off weather, and Grosjean started on Centre Court and will return there today. Roddick and Ancic were to have followed on Centre Court, but when it was clear that rain would be an issue, their match was moved to Court 1.


The women's final between top-seeded, two-time defending champion Serena Williams and 13th seed Maria Sharapova is scheduled to start after the men's semifinals.

Two entire days have been washed out at this Wimbledon and for only the third time in history tennis was played on the middle Sunday. Today's forecast is for blustery conditions with showers.

Federer and Grosjean started their match a few minutes late and were able to play only 23 minutes before it began raining. They were brought back onto the court twice, but light rain sent them back to the locker room.

The longest rain delay was 4 hours, 43 minutes and, when blue sky appeared, the players quickly returned to the courts.

Roddick broke Ancic once, in the ninth game of the first set, and then served it out. He got his second service break in the fifth game of the second set, but, at 30-40, faces the tough job of saving his own break point when play resumes today.

Also today, Martina Navratilova, 47, and doubles partner Lisa Raymond are scheduled to play Ai Sugiyama and Liezel Huber in the women's semifinals. Third-seeded Navratilova and Raymond, who will represent the United States at the Olympics, beat Marion Bartoli and Emilie Loit, 6-2, 6-4, yesterday.

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