Thursday's viewers guide

Updated: July 1, 2004, 9:28 AM ET
By Cynthia Faulkner | ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- American veteran Lindsay Davenport, 28, and rising Russian star Maria Sharapova, 17, have something in common.

When both were in their formative teen tennis years, they worked with Robert Lansdorp, who helped develop each player's powerful ground strokes.

"We both hit a pretty powerful ball, both have a pretty good serve," Sharapova said. "She's a great champion. I mean, one word about her, she's won this tournament and I want this tournament, so it's going to be interesting."

Davenport won this tournament in 1999 and then her last major title win in 2000 at the Australian Open. Recently, Davenport came back from knee surgery only to suffer foot problems requiring a second surgery in less than a year and a half. She finally appears to be healthy and benefiting from the soft grass surface. At Wimbledon, her record is 42-9.

"The faster surfaces definitely make life a lot more easy for myself, whether it's a fast hard court or fast indoor court or grass," Davenport said.

This is a battle of generations, although Davenport disapproves of terming it a "changing of the guard."

"I think one point in the '90s, we lost Novotna, we lost Graf, we lost Navratilova, Sanchez," Davenport said. "Still players like Williams come up and take over the game. I think that's just the natural cycle."

Davenport is among the best at summing up a player's strengths and weaknesses and she assessed her semifinal opponent's future.

"Technically, I think she's very sound," Davenport said. "She's got a good, hard serve that will continue to develop as she gets older. There's no glaring weakness."

Serena's tough to beat here

Serena Williams is pleased. Her knee is holding up and she's eased into the semifinals. Easier than even she expected after a quarterfinal matchup with Jennifer Capriati.

Williams came out fighting and overwhelmed Capriati in only 45 minutes on Wednesday. The 6-1, 6-1 defeat was Capriati's worst loss in a Grand Slam tournament ever. Williams's semifinal opponent, Amelie Mauresmo, is well aware that Williams will leave few openings.

"It's pretty tough to play her because you're like, in one or two shots, it's done, especially on that surface," Mauresmo said, snapping her fingers. "You have to be very focused and ready from the first shot to handle her game.

"But I think I will have some fun," she added smiling.

The last time Mauresmo and Williams met at Wimbledon also was in the semifinals in 2002; Williams won 6-2, 6-1. Williams has a 30-3 record at Wimbledon and has won 19 consecutive matches. She's attempting to make history by winning her third consecutive title here becoming only the third woman in 35 years along with Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova to do so.

"I've been asked about how I felt about winning three in a row," Williams said. "You know, it's been something on my mind since the beginning of the tournament ... it's been a tough 12 months for me, and it's like I'm finally feeling much better."

Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.

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