Wimbledon is finally dry after 3 days of rain. Wawrinka wins and gets Djokovic next

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka returns to Argentina's Tomas Martín Etcheverry in a men's singles match on day four of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Thursday, July 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
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AP Sports Writer

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The courts are finally dry at Wimbledon and the sun is even shining through the clouds at times, giving organizers hope of fitting in a full day of tennis on Thursday for the first time at this year’s tournament.

The first three days of action at the All England Club were affected by rain. Only eight matches were completed on Tuesday. Those matches were played on either Centre Court or No. 1 Court, the only stadiums on the grounds with roofs.

Because of the all the disruption, there were a handful of first-round matches played on Day 4. Normally, the first Thursday of the tournament would wrap up the second round.

Among the winners was Stan Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland. Wawrinka beat No. 29-seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the third round.

The 38-year-old Wawrinka, who won his major titles at the other three Grand Slam tournaments, will next face Novak Djokovic — the 23-time Grand Slam champion who is going for his record-tying eighth title at Wimbledon. That match is scheduled to be played Friday on Centre Court.

“There’s zero opportunity to win Wimbledon for me, I think,” said Wawrinka, who reached the quarterfinals at the All England Club in 2014 and 2015. “I’m playing better each match, and as I say, I think it’s an honor to play Novak here. I was missing that on my career to play him in the Grand Slam in Wimbledon. That’s the last I never played him, and it’s going to be a difficult challenge.

“Hopefully I can make a competitive match, but if you will look at recent results, I don’t really stand a chance.”

The defending champion in the women’s tournament, Elena Rybakina, moved into the third round by beating Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-6 (2). Fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula defeated Cristina Bucsa 6-1, 6-4.

Later Thursday, two-time champion Andy Murray was playing fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas on Centre Court in the second round.

Alexander Zverev, who reached the 2020 U.S. Open final but missed most of last season after injuring his ankle in the French Open semifinals, finally got on court and beat Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) in the first round.

The 19th-seeded German has twice reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, including in 2021. He again reached the French Open semifinals this year.

Fourth-seeded Casper Ruud, however, was eliminated in the second round, losing to British hopeful Liam Broady 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Centre Court.

“In the fifth, he was just dominant,” said Ruud, who reached the final at three of the last five major tournaments but has never gotten past the second round in four appearances at the All England Club. “Getting more experience here at Wimbledon is fun. Playing on Centre Court was amazing.”

Also in the women’s draw, Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina both advanced to the third round. Kenin eliminated seventh-seeded Coco Gauff in the first round, while Svitolina beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.

Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, will next face Svitolina, who is back on tour after the birth of her first child in October with husband Gael Monfils.

“I’ve got to figure out a good strategy against her,” said Kenin, a 24-year-old American. “She gets a lot of balls back, from what I remember. I mean, she’s got a big serve, big backhand. There is nothing off about her game.”

Mirra Andreeva, a 16-year-old qualifier from Russia who is ranked 102nd, reached the third round in her Wimbledon debut. She advanced when No. 10-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic retired from the match with a lower leg injury with Andreeva leading 6-3, 4-0.

“For sure it’s not the way I wanted to win the match. But still I advance to the next round, so I’m happy with that,” Andreeva said.

Krejcikova won the French Open in 2021. Her best showing at the All England Club was reaching the fourth round the same year.