Martina Navratilova moved into the women's quarterfinals at Wimbledon today, beating Larissa Savchenko of the Soviet Union 6-4, 6-2 in the completion of a suspended match as play got under way after a long rain delay.
Navratilova, the defending champion aiming for a record ninth women's title at the All England Club, trailed 2-4 in the first set when a combination of rain and darkness ended play prematurely Monday after a week of mild, dry weather.A persistent drizzle kept the players in the locker room for an additional 31/2 hours today before it stopped and the match resumed under gray, overcast skies.
Navratilova showed no sign of the previous day's troubles, quickly breaking serve and winning four straight games in just 13 minutes to wrap up the first set.
Savchenko, the last surviving Soviet player in the singles draw, dropped her serve twice more in the second set as Navratilova kept up the pressure.
After an hour's play, Navratilova, the No. 2 seed, won the match with a backhand cross-court service return, completing the women's fourth-round draw and sending her into a quarterfinal meeting with Roz Fairbank on Wednesday.
The rain that halted Monday's action came just too late to save Australian Mark Woodforde in his match against the top-seeded Ivan Lendl.
The world's top-ranked player may not have found ultimate success at the famed Grand Slam tournament in six tries, but when it comes to a battle of attrition, he's a survivor.
Woodforde, a red-haired Australian, became Lendl's latest five-set victim, cracking under pressure after almost five hours to go down 7-5, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5, 10-8.
Woodforde got closer than most to beating Lendl at his own game when he reached match point in the 14th game of the final set. But the Australian blew his chance and was made to pay as the tournament's top seed reached the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years.
Lendl, who survived a five-setter in his previous match, said mental strength was the key on Monday.
"That's what pulls me through. Otherwise, I wouldn't still be here," the 28-year-old Czechoslovak said.
Once again, Lendl is still here, battling on in his quest for a first Wimbledon title. But the name of his quarterfinal opponent won't be known until today. That's because the fourth-round match on Centre Court between American Tim Mayotte and Henri Leconte of France was called off due to early-evening rain, with Mayotte leading 6-4, 7-6.
That match was to be completed today, after the first of the women'sB quarterfinals between American Chris Evert and Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia. Steffi Graf, the top-seeded woman, was next up against unseeded Pascale Paradis of France.
The other women's quarterfinal matched Americans Pam Shriver and Zina Garrison.
Another unfinished fourth-round match opened the program on Court No. 1. Defending champion Martina Navratilova of the U.S., aiming to win a record ninth Wimbledon singles title, trailed 4-2 in the first set against Larissa Savchenko of the Soviet Union.
West German Boris Becker's fourth-rounder against American Paul Annacone, which never got started Monday, was next on Court No. 1.
Jimmy Connors also had unfinished business on Court No. 2. The 35-year-old American was locked at 6-6 in the third set with West Germany's Patrick Kuhnen after splitting the first two.
The finish of the Lendl-Woodforde match, the longest of the tournament to date, beat the rain by a few minutes.
But it was almost dark when the Australian netted a backhand return to keep alive Lendl's dream of capturing the one Grand Slam title that has eluded him.
"It was not that draining physically but it was very tough mentally," said Lendl, a finalist the last two years. "I thought I played really well in the fifth set. I had a lot of break points, but I didn't make anything of them."
Lendl, who beat Michiel Schapers of the Netherlands in five sets during the third round, has now won his last eight five-set matches at Wimbledon, stretching back to 1981.
Even when he faced match point Monday in the 14th game of the final set, his concentration helped him through. A deep volley to the left-handed Woodforde's forehand was returned into the sidelines.
"I just thought about getting the first serve in," said Lendl, forced each time to come from behind in the final set. "When you're match-point down, you have to consider losing. But if you start thinking you're going to lose, you lose."
With no tiebreaker in the final set at Wimbledon, each game became a test of nerve and endurance as the crowd uged on each player in the evening gloom.