EASTBOURNE – Defending champion Marion Bartoli trod carefully on a rain-soaked court to advance to the Eastbourne semifinals Thursday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.
But while the women were able to complete their four matches on a day of poor weather, it was a different story for the men as the quarterfinals of the ATP event were put back by a day.
That left holder Adreas Seppi and American star Andy Roddick among those told to prepare for double duty Friday at the Wimbledon tune-up which is due to end Saturday.
The scheduling decision was made despite clear skies in late afternoon on the longest day of the year and a forecast of Friday morning rain.
Fourth seed Bartoli was joined as a winner by Klara Zakopalova, with the Czech taking the last five games to defeat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-5.
That contest was stalled by passing a rain cloud with Zakapalova leading a set and 6-5 after a sixth double-fault from her opponent led to a break point and the conversion.
The pair came back out when conditions cleared and played for three more minutes as Zakapalova advanced a step closer to a possible second grasscourt trophy after winning in the Netherlands in 2005.
In a match seriously interrupted by the weather, German fifth seed Angelique Kerber, the only woman remaining who has won a title this season, defeated 2010 champion Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-4.
Tamira Paszek reached her first semi since September with a defeat of 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-4. The Austrian will next play Bartoli, who beat her in their only meeting five years ago.
Bartoli was so intent on victory over Safarova that she automatically adapted to conditions to earn the win in 73 minutes.
Bartoli is playing the Wimbledon tune-up for the ninth year in a row and could become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to defend her title at Devonshire Park.
Ferrer makes last 4
David Ferrer crushed Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-0, 6-1 Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Unicef Open at Den Bosch, the Netherlands Thursday.
The top-seeded Spaniard needed just 43 minutes to rout Sijsling, allowing his Dutch opponent to win only one game in front of the home crowd at the grass court tournament. Ferrer will next play Benoit Paire of France, who beat Ito Tatsuma of Japan 6-3, 7-5.
Philipp Petzschner of Germany and Xavier Malisse of Belgium will meet in the second semifinal match.
On the women’s side, Kim Clijsters of Belgium beat the 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 7-6 (7) in a match that was held up by rain.
It was Clijsters’ third win of the tournament, giving the Belgium player a boost after she’s been out of play most of the season due to injuries. She next meet Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who defeated Solia Arvidsson of Sweden, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Also on Thursday, eighth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia overpowered third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-0 in just over an hour.
Petrova will play the winner of the match between Kirsten Flipkens and Roberta Vinci, which was suspended due to rain with Flipkens leading 6-4, 5-4.
Murray for Olympics
Andy Murray was selected to play singles and doubles for Britain at the London Olympics Thursday.
The fourth-ranked Scot’s participation was announced by the British Olympic Association for the tournament that will be contested on grass at Wimbledon from July 28 to Aug. 5. The 25-year-old Murray will play doubles with his brother, Jamie. – Agencies