Lewis' grass-court skills face difficult test from Norman

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The Independent Online

Chris Lewis, of Wales, faces a tall order, literally, in his attempt to qualify for Wimbledon for the first time at Roehampton today.

The 21-year-old Lewis, ranked 551st in the world, plays the Belgian left-hander Dick Norman who not only stands 6ft 8in, but with a ranking of 118th came close to direct entry to Wimbledon.

Norman has been in the Wimbledon field only once before, when he defeated the former champion Stefan Edberg in 1995, but as the third seed in the qualifying tournament stands a clear chance of progressing at the expense of Lewis, who has been practising for four hours a day on grass. Today's third round will prove if he has done enough.

Others chasing one of the 16 places in the draw include Giovanni Lapentti, of Ecuador, 20, who may not have played singles at Wimbledon, but made his mark on Court No 1 when he defeated Arvind Parmar in the decisive Davis Cup rubber against Great Britain three years ago.

Cristelle Grier, the 20-year-old from Surrey who has completed the first year of a tennis scholarship at Northwestern University, Illinois, twice had attention for cramp in the final set yesterday as she was defeated by the 14th seed, Julia Schruff of Germany. In blustery conditions, Grier fought well to take a fluctuating first set. But Schruff began to improve after having attention to her shoulder at the start of the second set and, as Grier tired, went on to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Grier, who lost a 3-0 lead in the final set, said: "I found a way to get through that in the wind, but those drop shots took their toll on my poor legs."

On the same court Helen Crook, the 31-year-old from Essex, was beaten by the Romanian Andreea Vanc, who won 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Mirjana Lucic, the Croat who now lives in Florida, will be striving hard to regain a footing at Wimbledon where she was a semi-finalist four years ago at the age of 17, losing in three sets to Steffi Graf. Lucic is now ranked 245th in the world, but yesterday defeated Nadejd Ostrovskaya, of Belarus, 6-1 6-1.