For the second night running, Matt Barton’s Wimbledon dreams have been stalled by rain, with his gripping first-round clash held over until Thursday.
The Australian qualifier will continue his quest for a maiden grand slam win on day four at the All England Club when he resumes with France’s Albano Olivetti – with the pair locked at 3-3 in the fifth set before rain again stopped play.
Scores were locked at 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 5-5 when the clouds took control late on Wednesday and forced the match into a third day.
Resuming at 5-5 in the second-set tiebreaker, and having lost the first set on Tuesday, Barton wasted little time in levelling the scores as he hit two big forehand winners to close out the set immediately.
He took control of the third set in fortuitous fashion when Olivetti double-faulted on break point to give the Australian a 3-1 lead, although the Frenchman angrily disputed the call of his second fault.
Olivetti became increasingly frustrated with noisy surrounds of the outside court, and at 4-2 went to the chair umpire to complain about a nearby noisy child.
Light rain began to fall soon after and, while play was stopped on other courts, the umpire insisted Barton and Olivetti play on after inspecting the court.
However, after Barton served out the set with an ace, they were off for another lengthy break – with the Australian profiting from a brilliant 30 minutes on court to take a two-sets-to-one advantage.
The pair returned for the fourth set as Barton squandered six break points – all in the seventh game – in a giant missed opportunity before Olivetti forced a fifth set following another tiebreak.
They were able to play through a further 25 minutes before being called from the court again, with further efforts to resume play proving fruitless as London’s fickle weather left its mark on the tournament.
The winner will face either 18th seed John Isner of the USA or Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis for a shot at the third round.