Rain washes out pre-Wimbledon Eastbourne play

Eastbourne: Steady rain forced abandonment Friday at the ATP-WTA Eastbourne grasscourt event as the pre-Wimbledon tournament stalled at the semi-final stage.

With Wimbledon starting on Monday and players keen to get to London for final practice at the All England club, officials will now try and conclude on schedule Saturday with a double-up programme to meet a tight timetable.

Held hostage by the weather were men`s and women`s matches for places in the finals, with Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova due to play Daniela Hantuchova after the Slovak put out Venus Williams.

French sixth seed Marion Bartoli, a 2007 Wimbledon finalist, will take on former Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur of Australia, seeded seventh.

On the men`s side, number three Janko Tipsarevic, lone seed left in a field which had been headed by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, faces Japan`s Kei Nishikori. The other semi-final will pit Italian Andreas Seppi against Russia`s Igor Kunitsyn.

In hopes of wrapping up the event on time and awarding the trophies, matches will begin at 10:30 am, officials said.

Bureau Report

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