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Rain, A Roller Coaster and A Century-Old Stat on Day Four

by Nicholas McCarvel
Thursday 27 June 2013

At some point, it had to happen. Rain fell on Thursday afternoon at the All England Club after three and a half days of under-the-sun play. The roof came closed on Centre Court, and matches on the outside courts were cancelled. But before the drops fell in SW19, there was plenty of tennis that was played. We pick out the best bits:

Match of the Day: Grega Zemlja leads [29] Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, 9-8, Suspended

Is it possible the best match of Day Four was one that didn't even finish? The battle between Dimitrov and Zemlja was an epic one from the start, with the two  Europeans battling for the right to play Juan Martin Del Potro, the No.8 seed, in the third round. Dimitrov fought off a match point when serving 6-7 down, and he'll have to come out of the gates firing Friday morning as he and Zemlja are scheduled first up on No.3 Court. The match has the most games played of any in singles at The Championships 2013, with 58 completed. And who was there to watch courtside? Two-thousand four's Wimbledon champion, Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov's girlfriend.

Honorary Match of the Day: [6] Li Na def. Simona Halep 6-2, 1-6, 6-0
There is such a thing as a roller-coaster tennis match, and on Thursday Li Na played it. The 2011 Roland Garros champion came out in sizzling form, but lost her way in the second set after Simona Halep took an injury time out to right her ship. But a second-set loss was all Li needed to slap her awake, blazing through the final set in 25 minutes and booking a third round date with No.32 seed Klara Zakopalova.

Upset of the Day: Igor Sijsling def. [17] Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(4)
When will the big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada start to deliver? Surprisingly, his famously massive delivery doesn't make his game as dangerous on grass as you might think, as the 22-year-old has now been eliminated in the second round of Wimbledon the last three years running. It was the way that Raonic went out on Thursday that was part of the shock, as well, as he wasn't able to win a single set against the world No.59 on Court 18. Sijsling next gets Ivan Dodig, who knocked out No.16 Philipp Kohlschreiber (thanks to a retirement) in the first round and followed that up with a win over American Denis Kudla. Opportunity lost for Milos?

Stat of the Day:
For the first time since 1912, no American man advances to the third round of Wimbledon (no Americans played in Wimbledon in 1912, making the last year that American men entered and DID NOT see one player through to the third round was actually 1911). James Blake lost early in the day to Australia's Bernard Tomic, and then Bobby Reynolds sealed the deal by going out in straight sets to top seed Novak Djokovic under a closed roof on Centre Court.

Thursday also marked the first day of play at The Championships interrupted by rain, with play being halted on most courts just around 6pm and then being called off as a consistent drizzle continued. In all, three singles and two doubles matches were stopped as they were being played and six other matches were not put out on court at all.

Quote of the Day: Li Na on the ups and downs of her 6-2, 1-6, 6-0 win over Simona Halep on Thursday:
"So I would like to say, welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour...End of the first set, she called official. I thought, Maybe she be retire or something. I was already like lose concentration on the court, you know. Yeah, when one set all, Wake up, she OK, she kick your ass already in the second set. So you should ready for a final set."

'Did You Just See?' of the Day: 
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, came for tennis in the Royal Box on Thursday, and it was tennis that she saw, but not before she made her rounds at the All England Club to say a few hellos. Camilla was spotted on the players' deck exchanging pleasantries with Tim Henman, John McEnroe and Sue Barker, and was overheard asking Tim how often he picks up a stick to play these days (one or twice a year, he says). Somewhere down the line, Sergiy Stakhovsky, he of Roger Federer-conquering fame, was doing extra rounds of press following his epic win, a day after he simply walked home to his Wimbledon accommodation following his historic win with his wife by his side. For you social media buffs, that might be the most humble of humble brags we've ever heard of. 

Tweet of the Day: 
You're following us on Twitter, right? There are plenty of entertaining things going on there, including fans sending some #Wimbledpun magic. Don't know what a #Wimblepun is? See the best of them here.

Video of the Day: How well does Serena Williams know stats from her own career? Find out in this hilarious interview:

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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

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