Federer, Williams resume bids for 6th Wimbledons

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — As Week 1 gives way to Week 2 at Wimbledon, the primary story lines have not shifted since the beginning of the tournament.

Will Roger Federer win a sixth Wimbledon championship and record 15th Grand Slam title?

Will Andy Murray end Britain’s 73-year wait for a male singles champion at the All England Club?

Will Venus Williams become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win the Venus Rosewater Dish three years in a row, bringing her career haul to six?

Will Serena Williams end her older sister’s reign and add to her own Wimbledon championships from 2002 and 2003?

Will they ever play a point on Centre Court with the spiffy new retractable roof closed?

“The common joke has been that they haven’t had to use it yet,” said Andy Roddick, twice a runner-up to Federer at Wimbledon. “All this money, and the weather’s been nice.”

That might register as the biggest upset through six days of play at this edition of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament: 1995 was the last year there was no rain at all during Wimbledon, and while the lightest of sprinkles did emerge during Murray’s victory Saturday, it wasn’t deemed enough to warrant closing the top.

“It would have been a nice bit of history, I guess,” Murray said. “The first match to play under the roof.”

The 22-year-old has yet to show any signs of being the least bit intimidated by all the fuss about the sort of history his countrymen hope he’ll make next weekend.

He even received a note from Queen Elizabeth II wishing him luck, and there’s a buzz building about whether she would make her first appearance at Wimbledon since 1977, if Murray were to reach the final.

First things first, though. Wimbledon is the only major tennis tournament that schedules all 16 men’s and women’s fourth-round matches for the second Monday, so things should be busy today around the grounds.

Most of the biggest names are still around — 2008 champion Rafael Nadal pulled out before the tournament with sore knees, and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova lost in the second round — but there are some new faces.

Most notably: 124th-ranked Melanie Oudin, a 17-year-old from Marietta, Ga., who had to go through qualifying to get into the women’s draw; and 46th-ranked Dudi Sela, the first man from Israel to reach Wimbledon’s fourth round since 1989.

“I mean, on the grass, it’s a lot about the draw, you know?” pointed out Sela, who could become the first Israeli to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the 41-year Open era.

Here are the matchups in the men’s draw: No. 2 Federer vs. No. 13 Robin Soderling, No. 3 Murray vs. No. 19 Stanislas Wawrinka, No. 4 Novak Djokovic vs. Sela, No. 6 Roddick vs. No. 20 Tomas Berdych, No. 7 Fernando Verdasco vs. No. 22 Ivo Karlovic, No. 8 Gilles Simon vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 23 Radek Stepanek vs. Lleyton Hewitt, and No. 24 Tommy Haas vs. No. 29 Igor Andreev.

And in the women’s draw: No. 1 Dinara Safina vs. No. 17 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 2 Serena Williams vs. Daniela Hantuchova, No. 3 Venus Williams vs. No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, No. 4 Elena Dementieva vs. Elena Vesnina, No. 8 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 10 Nadia Petrova, No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki, No. 11 Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Oudin, and No. 26 Virginie Razzano vs. Francesca Schiavone.

Those matches are spread out across six courts today.

“It’s a good ticket, I guess, if you’re a tennis fan,” Roddick observed. “Even if you don’t get on Centre, your grounds pass will do just fine.”

Federer will get things started on Centre Court against Soderling. It is a rematch of this month’s final at the French Open, where Federer completed his career Grand Slam and tied Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major titles by improving to 10-0 against Soderling.

A victory by Soderling over five-time Wimbledon champion Federer at the All England Club would be just about as startling as the Swede’s victory over four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in the — yep, you guessed it — fourth round.

“Maybe it’s the same challenge. It’s very tough to beat Rafa on clay, and it’s as tough to beat Roger on grass,” Soderling said. “But I made it once.”

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