Downpour! Venus Williams forced off court as rain storm hits on match point
The reaction says it all.
Venus Williams was leading 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina up 40-30 at 7-5, 4-6, 7-6. In other words the 36-year-old had match point in her third-round match at Wimbledon.
As Venus wiggled near the baseline awaiting for Kasatkina's serve, a few drops of rain started to fall. The match had been delayed by rain before, but they could easily get in a few points before having to stop. But about five seconds after the first drops fell, a drizzle turned into a downpour.
The match was halted, Venus was incredulous at her bad luck and both players were forced to a waiting room to think about the next, decisive point. From start to finish, the whole thing took 20 seconds. ESPN analyst Pam Shriver said she's never seen anything like it.
Having to walk off the court with a match point in a duel that had started more than five hours before would be a big deal for anyone. But for the oldest player in the field, who's spent more than seven hours on court in the first five days of the tournament? It's enormous.
On the flip side, the oldest player happens to be facing the youngest player, one who's double-faulted at two crucial moments. For as angry as Venus has to be that she missed out on a chance to close out on the match, Kasatkina has to be equally nervous about sitting on a situation in which she'll have one point (and two serves) to save her tournament.
The players left the court at 5:07 p.m. BST. Officials announced that the earliest play would begin around at 6:30.
UPDATE (1:20 p.m. ET): On the first point after the nearly 90-minute delay, Venus netted a backhand. She hit her next return long and then netted another. The score is tied at 7-7.)
UPDATE: (1:36 P.M .ET): Venus held serve twice, then broke Kasatkina for a 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 win. She'll get a full two days off before Monday's fourth-round match. It will be much deserved.