Wimbledon’s women’s quarter-finals has been disrupted stormy weather.

Dark clouds hung over south west London and the All England club before heavy rain and thunder lashed down just before the scheduled midday start of play.

Wildcard Sabine Lisicki and French ninth seed Marion Bartoli were due on Centre Court.

The Centre Court's retractable roof had been opened after starting the day completely closed, so ground-staff rushed to cover the grass while the £80 million roof was resealed.

With the roof finally closed and the climate-controlled conditions ready for play, Lisicki and Bartoli started their match 25 minutes late.

Lisicki has never made a Grand Slam semifinal before however she is a hot player on tour having won a recent grass court title and having played so well at the All England Club through the first four rounds.

Former champion Maria Sharapova's clash with Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova was next up on Centre Court.

However, with rumbles of thunder all around Wimbledon, there was no play before 1pm on Court One – which is due to stage two women's quarter-finals –and the rest of the outside courts, where men's and women's doubles and junior singles' matches are scheduled.

Spectators were forced to run for cover under the stands as the stormy weather continued for around an hour before finally easing.

The Court One programme was due to begin with Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova's match against 32nd-seeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, with unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek second on against fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.