Closing Time: Wimbledon Fans Cheer New Roof

Let the record show that the fourth-round match between Amelie Mauresmo and  top-ranked Dinara Safina became the first Wimbledon matchup that God was not allowed to watch. The second half of it, anyway. The contest, led by Mauresmo 6-4, 1-4, was halted by light rain, prompting the closure of Wimbledon’s new retractable roof (chorus of angel voices here).

There are some things that just don’t seem right: What’s next, ice hockey at Wrigley Field?* The court was initially covered with a green tarp in case the rain subsided so play could resume. But All England Club officials quickly decided to shut the roof, which is making its debut this year atop the stadium built in 1922. Not only did fans cheer the roof, but when the floodlights came on, that too drew applause. Tennis is weird.

“We’ve been waiting for it for so long, it’s the first time ever at Wimbledon somebody’s waiting for rain, but we’d still prefer the sunshine,” All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie said. “It’s a historic moment in many ways and I’m sure they all feel delighted to be here. We’ll be grateful if the sun comes back.”

On the first point ever played indoors at a tournament that began in 1877, Safina hit a backhand passing winner down the line. Mauresmo hit a 110 mph ace on the next point and eventually added two more aces to hold serve. Safina won, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In non-mechanical Wimbledon news, Roger Federer advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Robin Soderling 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).

Venus Williams led 6-1, 0-1 when Ana Ivanovic retired with a left thigh injury, and  Serena Williams beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1. Melanie Oudin lost to No. 11-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 7-5.

* = Wait, what?