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Rain washes out Tuesday's matches
Posted: Tuesday June 29, 1999 02:24 PM
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Jim Courier and Tim Henman began warming up on Centre Court for the resumption of their rain-delayed match. They hit three or four shots before scurrying off as the showers returned.
On Court One, Steffi Graf was ready to pick up where she left off against Belgian qualifier Kim Clijsters when the drizzle sent them back to the locker room.
That was the only tennis played at Wimbledon on Tuesday as rain washed out the entire day's program.
It was the 30th complete washout in Wimbledon history and the first since 1997, when two straight days were wiped out by rain.
After a virtually rain-free first week, the curse of Wimbledon struck for a second straight day.
The start time on all courts was advanced because of the backlog of matches from Monday, when only five of 16 fourth-round matches were completed.
But persistent rain pelted the All England Club from early morning, and the showers continued throughout the day.
Wimbledon chief executive Christopher Gorringe announced the postponement at 1:45 p.m. EDT.
"Unfortunately our optimism has not been rewarded," he said. "Reluctantly, it has been decided to abandon play."
There had been a brief respite at around 9 a.m. EDT, and the covers came off the courts.
Courier and Henman walked onto Centre Court but barely had time to hit a few balls before retreating indoors. Henman was leading 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 4-3 when the match was halted Monday.
Graf, who was two games from victory Monday against Clijsters, 6-2, 4-2, warmed up briefly on Court One before packing up her racket bag and heading back inside.
Other matches yet to begin included Boris Becker vs. Patrick Rafter, Venus Williams vs. Anna Kournikova, Pete Sampras vs. Daniel Nestor, Goran Ivanisevic vs. Todd Martin, and Greg Rusedski vs. Mark Philippoussis.
Players kept busy by practicing on Wimbledon's indoor courts or hanging out in the lounge, playing cards and munching candy bars.
Fans huddled under umbrellas and queued for strawberries and cream, donuts and yogurt and champagne and Pimms.
A four-piece band called Rhythmique en Rouge entertained the soggy Centre Court crowd with songs ranging from the "Flintstones" theme to "Pennies from Heaven."
A BBC radio commentator interviewed former champion Michael Stich, while BBC television showed a replay of the classic 1969 match between Poncho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell.
Two weeks ago, 16-year-old Jelena Dokic was hoping just to qualify for Wimbledon. Now she believes she can win the whole tournament.
Dokic, who stunned top-seeded Martina Hingis in the first round last week, pulled off another coup Monday when she beat No. 9 Mary Pierce 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
The Yugoslav-born Aussie became only the third women's qualifier to make the Wimbledon quarters in the Open era, joining Carina Karlsson (1984) and Molly Van Nostrand (1985).
"If you told me two weeks ago after qualifying I would be in the quarterfinals, I wouldn't have believed it," the 129th-ranked Dokic said.
Now she believes she's a legitimate contender for the title.
"I think anyone has a chance," Dokic said. "Beating Martina and Mary, I've got great confidence right now. It's anyone's tournament. You've got to think you are unbeatable. I'm thinking really positive now."
Dokic said she proved that her victory against Hingis was no fluke.
"This was a big match for me, Mary being top 10 and a seed here," she said. "Beating Hingis was still in my head. I was thinking, 'Did that really happen? Am I really able to beat top players?' Beating Mary today sort of proved it for me."
Dokic could meet another qualifier, 18-year-old American Alexandra Stevenson, in the quarters. Stevenson was to play Lisa Raymond in a fourth-round match that was postponed.
On Monday, Andre Agassi overcame the wicked left-handed serve of Australian qualifier Wayne Arthurs to win 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, 6-4.
Arthurs, ranked No. 163, went into the match having won 98 straight service games without a break. The streak stretched to 111 before Agassi finally broke in the third game of the third set with a backhand return winner.
Agassi, who won his first French Open title last month, is a serious contender to reclaim the Wimbledon title he won in 1992. If he succeeds, he will be the first since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win both titles back to back.
Agassi will next face Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten, the former French Open champ who beat Swiss qualifier Lorenzo Manta 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Defending champion Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic and Lindsay Davenport of the United States advanced to a quarterfinal matchup with straight-set victories Monday.
In suspended matches, France's Cedric Pioline led Slovakia's Karol Kucera 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0; France's Nathalie Tauziat was up 6-3, 0-1 against Belgium's Dominique Van Roost; and Croatia's Mirjana Lucic was tied 5-5 with Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn.
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