Blake through in rain-hit day

Blake, Davydenko and Gonzalez among those into second round

Last Updated: 10/08/08 3:02pm

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Blake: Won match

Blake: Won match

US number one James Blake was one of only a handful of players to progress as the Olympic tennis tournament faced serious weather disruption on Sunday.

Heavy rain and thunder meant only nine of 45 scheduled matches were completed when the day's play was finally called off at 7pm, giving officials a headache as they juggle the packed singles and doubles roster.

Of the completed matches, Blake, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez were all able to book their place in the second round after waiting out a two-hour rain delay.

Athens bronze medallist Gonzalez of Chile eased past China's Sun Peng 6-4, 6-4 while Russian fourth seed Davydenko overcame dangerous Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2.

Inspiration

Blake said he drew inspiration from Michael Phelps' world-record 400m medley swim as he shrugged off the initial rain delay to beat Australia's Chris Guccione 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

"It was very exciting. Sitting there this morning watching Michael Phelps set a world record was special to me because it made me realize how many people are inspired by him," said US number one Blake, who will now face either Dominik Hrbaty or Thomaz Bellucci in round two.

"Now I'm in the position to have that opportunity, to go out there and get a medal for my country. Today was hopefully the first step towards that."

Blake predicted the tournament would be a survival of the fittest with strength-sapping relative humidity of 95 percent.

Grind

"It's about as humid as I've ever played in, and I live in Florida," he said. "It's going to be a grind. By the end of the week, whoever is left standing is going to have to be someone that's in great shape physically."

Czech player Tomas Berdych beat China's Yu Xinyuan and Frederic Niemeyer of Canada retired to send Argentine Guillermo Canas into the second round.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur of Australia, Italian Francesca Schiavone and Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova also progressed in the women's draw.

But top US women's seed Serena Williams was among those who could not complete their matches. She was left leading Belarus's Olga Govortsova 6-3, 2-1 at the end of the day.

China's Peng Shuai, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic are all also mid-match.

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