Novak Djokovic’s hopes of a calendar year grand slam were hanging by a thread as he slipped two sets down to big-serving American Sam Querrey before rain stopped their Wimbledon third- round clash on Friday.
On an infuriating day of rain delays, world No.1 Djokovic had to wait until nearly 7pm local time to walk out on Court One and little more than an hour later he walked off trailing 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 to the 28th seed.
Having lost the opening set on a tiebreak the 29-year-old Serb, who is on a 30-match winning streak in grand slams, looked all at sea in the second as Querrey took it in 22 minutes.
At that point a heavy rain shower sent the players scuttling off court and play was called off shortly afterwards.
Defending champion Djokovic will return on Saturday hoping to repeat his comeback from two sets down against Kevin Anderson in last year’s fourth round, a match that also spanned two days.
Roger Federer dropped Dan Evans through the Wimbledon trap door as he reached the fourth round of the grasscourt major with a bloodless 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was in no mood to hang about on Friday, racing to a one-set lead in just 18 minutes against Argentina’s Juan Monaco some three hours after they first warmed up on another rain-interrupted day at Wimbledon.
The pair were among eight matchups at the bottom of the men’s draw waiting to play their round two matches at the start of day five, while players in the top half, like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, were scheduled to play round three.
Monaco put the brakes on the Frenchman in the second and third sets and Tsonga’s service level dipped, but the 12th seed won through 6-1 6-4 6-3 in one hour 23 minutes – the third fastest men’s match of the tournament so far.
Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych also sped through to beat the rain, downing Germany’s Benjamin Becker 6-4 6-1 6-2 and taking just a minute longer than Tsonga to secure his place in round three.
Berdych was sanguine about how the rain dice rolled.
“I think it’s fair. In the first round I was … I about to finish a couple of points and then get rain delay overnight. Came next day and he was obviously better at the start,” he told reporters, referring to his four-set first-round win over Croatian Ivan Dodig.
“So that one was, I would say, unlucky. This one I was lucky.”
France’s Lucas Pouille, seeded 32, also made it through, defeating American Donald Young and comeback king Juan Martin Del Potro stole the headlines by beating fourth seed Stan Wawrinka on Centre Court.