Roger Federer handed tough draw for Wimbledon
Wimbledon (England): Roger Federer was handed a tough draw Friday in his bid for a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon title.
The defending champion and top-seeded Federer was drawn
in the same top half with Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and
former champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Federer beat Roddick in a marathon five-set final last
Second-seeded and 2008 winner Rafael Nadal has Andy
Murray and Robin Soderling in the bottom half of the draw.
Federer, winner of 16 Grand Slam titles, will open Monday
against Colombia`s 65th-ranked Alejandro Falla. Federer hasn`t
lost a set in four previous matches with Falla, including a
6-1, 6-2, 6-0 rout at Wimbledon in 2004 and 6-1, 6-2 win on
grass in Halle, Germany, last week.
Nadal plays Japan`s Kei Nishikori in the first round.
In the women`s draw, the Williams sisters are seeded to
meet again in the final for the fifth time.
Top-seeded and three-time champion Serena has former
winner Maria Sharapova and French Open runner-up Samantha
Stosur in her half.
Five-time champion Venus has Belgians Kim Clijsters and
Justine Henin, both returning to Wimbledon after coming out of
retirement, in her half.
Serena will play 148th-ranked Michelle Larcher de Brito
of Portugal in the opening round, while Venus opens against
Paraguay`s Rossana De Los Rios.
Federer, who has reached a record seven consecutive
Wimbledon finals, is trying to match Pete Sampras with seven
titles at the All England Club.
Federer has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles, including
this year`s Australian Open. However, he has not won a
tournament since Australia. It`s the first time since 2001
that Federer has come to Wimbledon with only one tournament
victory for the year.
The men`s draw sets up potential quarterfinals in the top
half between Federer and fifth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko and
No. 3 Djokovic vs. No. 5 Roddick. Looming in the bracket,
however, is No. 15 Hewitt, the 2002 champion who beat Federer
in Sunday`s final in Halle. The Australian could meet Djokovic
in the fourth round.
Federer could face Roddick in a semifinal showdown.
Federer has beaten the American in three Wimbledon finals,
including last year`s classic that went to 16-14 in the fifth
Nadal beat Federer in a five-set epic final two years ago
but missed last year`s tournament with knee troubles. The
Spaniard could face Soderling _ the player he beat in Paris
this month for his fifth French Open title _ in the quarters.
Before that, he could face tricky opponents in James Blake,
John Isner and Ernests Gulbis.
Fourth-seeded Murray, under hometown pressure again to
become the first British player to win the men`s title since
1936, is poised to face No. 9 Fernando Verdasco in the
quarters and Nadal in the semis.
But Murray could wind up in the fourth round against
big-serving American Sam Querrey, who won last week`s
Wimbledon tuneup at Queen`s.
Among the women, Serena Williams could face a
fourth-round battle against Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon
champion who is still trying to return to the top of her game
after shoulder and elbow problems.
Beyond that, Serena is poised to face No. 8 Agnieszka
Radwanska in the quarters and Stosur in the semis.
In the bottom half, there could be a fourth-round
all-Belgian duel between Clijsters and Henin. No. 8 Clijsters
is returning to Wimbledon for the first since 2006 after
coming out of retirement last year and winning the US Open.
No. 17 Henin is back for the first time since 2007 after 20
months away from the game.
Venus Williams could face new French Open champion
Francesca Schiavone in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Jelena
Jankovic in the semis.