Nadal's Rain Game but Sun Shines on Bjorkman

Article excerpt

World No 2 Rafael Nadal was today looking to make up for lost time when he took on Jarkko Nieminen for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The young Spaniard must now face two matches in as many days if he is to continue the quest for a second successive Grand Slam title of 2006.

Nadal, who earlier this week found himself at the centre of unwanted speculation linking him with a doping investigation in Spain ( had been scheduled to play the Finn, ranked 18 in the world, in the second match on Court One.

However, the clash between Radek Stepanek, the 14th seed, and Jonas Bjorkman went into five sets and was delayed by rain breaks, meaning the All England Club had to hastily rearrange their schedule.

It was Bjorkman ( at 34 the oldest player left in the draw ( who eventually came through after four hours and three minutes to book a showdown with defending champion Roger Federer.

The Swede, whose previous best at SW19 was reaching the last eight in 2003, held his nerve to win a crucial fourth set tie-break and then dug deep to close out the match 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in the fading light. …


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