Aussies wait as rain halts Wimbledon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussies wait as rain halts Wimbledon

By Chris Lines 27/06/2006 04:51:13 AM Comments (0)

The annual rain dance that is Wimbledon succeeded in breaking the drought in south-east England but frustrated the Australians whose matches were washed out on Monday.

Mark Philippoussis, Alicia Molik and Wayne Arthurs all brushed up on their solitaire - and sharing Socceroo agony - in the dressing rooms as rain persisted throughout day one of the year's third grand slam tournament.

Months of little to no rain prompted drought orders in England but the rain began in earnest Sunday night and allowed just 33 minutes play on Monday.

It will create a fixture log-jam for the referees on Tuesday, when two days of play will be crammed into one.

Wildcard Philippoussis will meet No.32 seed Paul-Henri Mathieu, Molik takes on Taiwanese qualifier Yung-Jan Chan and Arthurs faces fellow veteran Fabrice Santoro.

There will be a further three matches involving Australians that were originally set down for Tuesday: No.6 Lleyton Hewitt has a chance to avenge the Socceroos when he meets Filippo Volandri, Sam Stosur plays Michaella Krajicek and veteran Nicole Pratt takes on Jarmila Gajdosova.

Because of the fixture congestion, Hewitt may be dispatched for a rare appearance on the outside courts.

Philippoussis, surely on his last grand slam wildcard, faces a difficult opponent in Mathieu, who came closer than any other man to beating Rafael Nadal in the French Open.

But should the Melbourne native win, he will take on the winner of Max Mirnyi versus Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo and could meet No.8 seed James Blake in the third round.

Molik is still on the comeback trail from a long-term inner-ear infection but should beat Chan and progress to a likely second-round meeting with No.21 Katarina Srebotnik.

Arthurs, playing his 29th successive but possibly last grand-slam tournament, must overturn a 0-3 career record against Santoro.

Hewitt has never met Volandri, but should have too much for the Italian and remain on track for a potential final against Roger Federer.

Stosur will do well to beat rising star Krajicek, but if she does, her likely 'reward' is a second-round meeting with top seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Pratt, like Arthurs, fought her way through qualifying and is also potentially in her last grand slam.

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