Baker hopes rain can refresh his challenge

Jamie Baker had hoped for his moment in the sun – a reward for years of hard work, for battling back from serious illness and for always trying. A showcase match against a top player on one of the world’s most famous courts was just the job – Andy Roddick on No 1 court in the first round of Wimbledon.

What Baker ended up with, however, was a rain delay as he and Roddick went off at 8.15pm.

But, trailing the American 7-6, 4-2, a night off to regroup and refocus may be the best thing. As soon as the draw came out, the Glaswegian said he would need to play the match of his life to stand a chance. Roddick’s grass court pedigree is well known – three Wimbledon finals, four Queen’s Club trophies and the Eastbourne title last week.

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But, as one of Andy Murray’s regular practice partners, Baker has been paying attention to both his Davis Cup colleague and Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl.

As old Stone Face has guided Murray through drills and tactics designed to beat the best in the world, Baker has watched and listened. And, if Lendl thinks Baker is good enough to practice with the world No 4, then Baker reckons he must be doing something right. With that confidence and the thought that he has reached a career-high world ranking of No 186, Baker strode on to No 1 Court and set to work.

The early evening crowd were looking for something to warm them up and Baker fitted the bill. For the best part of an hour, Baker did just as he had hoped he would. If there was a chance he took it, if there was an opening, he found it. It was blistering stuff and the crowd wanted more. Roddick, on the other hand, was beginning to look tetchy – always a sign he knows he has got a fight on his hands.

According to the rankings, the Scot should have been little more than first-round fodder for someone of the American’s calibre but Baker clearly had other ideas.

The Scot served well, returned well, he moved Roddick around the court and created spaces for winners. But, in the end, Baker could not keep Roddick at arm’s length forever. A one-sided tiebreak (he won just one point) swiped the first set from his racket strings and dropping his serve three games later looked likely to have cost him the second set, too.

But then it rained.