There were a string of crowd-pleasing matches on the green clay Thursday, up until the weather didn’t cooperate and court-drenching sky-quaking thunderstorms interrupted play.

The big Sam Stosur/Galina Voskoboeva night match had to be delayed and will resume at 11 a.m. Friday, which is not great news for Stosur, the top seeded player. If she wins her match, which is likely, she would then have to play another one at 3 p.m. (or after a few hours, deemed “suitable rest” by tournament rules).

Stosur’s opponent in this scenario is Venus Williams, so energy is at a premium for both players. Tennis fans are watching Venus carefully and with much respect. Since being diagnosed with an auto immune disease, she has changed her game a bit to conserve energy and to improve her serving.

During her Thursday match against Anastasia Rodionova, Venus’ new attitude helped her achieve another big win. Rodionova put up a valiant effort in the first set but when she came close and then lost it 5-7, her scowl could be seen from the stands. She spent much of the second set acting defeated and getting ornery about line calls. The match point was particularly exciting, with her accidental cheerleading split that happened while sliding to reach Venus’ winning shot at the baseline. Good stuff.

The biggest stadium crowd turned out for Serena’s match against Marina Erakovic. Considering Serena’s 6-2 6-2 win, the play was truly exciting because Erakovic kept upping her game and returning Serena’s stinging serves like it was no big thing.

Friday offers another double dose of Williams sisters, with Serena facing off against Sabine Lisicki at 1 p.m. and then Venus playing the winner of the Stosur/Voskoboeva match at 3 p.m. If they manage to both win their matches today, that would mean the sisters would face off in the semifinals Saturday, the big dream for many fans. Either way, there is major drama and action on court that is making this year’s tournament a standout.

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