Paradorn's match is delayed
Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan built a 5-4 lead as rain interrupted his opening round match at Wimbledon against Argentine Agustin Calleri yesterday on court 18 at press time.
The 25th seed, who appeared on court in a loose shirt instead of his trademark tight outfit, had to save two break points to hold the ninth game before the umpire suspended play at 4-5 and 15-0 on the Argentine's serve - Paradorn led 5-4 and 0-15.
London has been drenched with rain since Sunday night and the drizzle stopped only a couple of hours before play started. Play was an hour behind schedule as the referee gave time for the grass to dry.
Despite the undesirable conditions, thousands of fans formed a long queue of around two kilometres to get tickets. Many camped over from the previous night to make sure they would be at the top of the ticket line. Paradorn arrived on court a few minutes before his opponent and about 500 fans welcomed them with a solid round of applause.
The Thai, who has slipped to No 38 in the world rankings, was the more powerful of the two, but veteran Calleri blasted down some huge serves to stay neck-and-neck and play went with serve.
At 4-4 Paradorn struggled as the Argentine had a double break opportunity at 40-15. The Thai then generated his own thundering serves to escape and hold for 5-4. Rain was predicted to disrupt play for a several hours after their game was postponed.
Thai women's No 1 Tamarine Tanasugarn, who made her way through the qualifying rounds, was due to play Colombian Catalina Castano in the third match on court No 11 later last night (Bangkok time). More heavy rain is expected on the second day.
Meanwhile, Thai men's No 2 Danai Udomchoke will play Russian Dmitry Tursunov, the 27th seed, in the first round today. Danai is 0-2 against the big-hitting Tursunov but expected to turn the tables on the world No 31 this time.
"My coach gave me some tips already. I'm not advised to counter-punch with him because that's what he likes," said Danai, who together with Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana watched the start of the Paradorn-Calleri match.
"I have to change the pace, using slices, strokes and a net game to confuse him. That's the game plan," added the 97th-ranked Danai, who is now No 2 in Asia behind countryman Paradorn.
"I'm overwhelmed after I saw the updated rankings today. I have the second best ranking in Asia now."