By Alison Williams
LONDON (Reuters) – 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.
The rain delays, which had also held up eight women’s second round ties, have prompted organizers to consider playing matches on Sunday, usually a rest day.
Tsonga, twice a semi-finalist at the grasscourt major, and Monaco, a former top-10 player, warmed up in drizzle around noon but the match was suspended before a ball was struck in earnest.
Speaking of his relief at finally reaching the third round, he said: “… especially because now today I’m waiting for my match.So, yeah, I’m really happy the way it goes today because it’s better to go back home tonight than stay here.”
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.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)