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Wimbledon takes tennis high-tech

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Kieran Doherty/Reuters

(Read caption) Britain's Andy Murray serves to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland under the closed roof on Centre Court, during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, on June 29.

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Venus Williams handed Dinara Safina a crushing defeat, while sister Serena bested Elena Dementieva in a close match at Wimbledon's women's semi-finals Thursday afternoon, setting up another all-Williams final for Saturday. It's the fourth time the sisters will meet for the title, and though the contenders may be familiar, a few new technological innovations are bringing the action to fans worldwide in ways not before seen.

Don't rain on my match point

Most notably, of course, is the All-England Club's new Centre Court retractable roof. The $131 million, 182,986 sq. meter accordion-style roof allows for play to continue in even the hardest midsummer downpours. But even for that kind of cash, rain delays aren't a thing of the past. The translucent top takes 10 minutes to deploy, and a sophisticated three-level air conditioning system (one for the roof, one for the stands, and one to circulate air at court level) needs 20-30 minutes to get conditions inside just right for play.

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