Day 6 preview
Third-round play resumes as Friday's first rain of the fortnight has forced Roger Federer, Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters onto an already-packed middle Saturday schedule. Defending champ Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters are also in action on the historic lawns, as is American favorite Andy Roddick, who escaped a five-set scare to remain alive for his second career Grand Slam title. With Tim Henman dramatically shown the exit by Dmitry Tursunov, British hopes and hearts now rest with 18-year-old Andrew Murray, who faces 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian.
• Two-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer looks well on his way to title number three after two rounds of play. In a match postponed from Friday due to rain, the world No. 1 will meet the 25th-seeded German Nicolas Kiefer, who is enjoying his best Wimbledon since 2002. The 27-year- old Kiefer has ranked as high as No. 4 in the world in 2000 and at one point had defeated Federer in three straight meetings. However, Federer has won the last three encounters without dropping a set to hold a 4-3 edge in the series. Federer has won 31 straight matches on the grass, 10 shy of Bjorn Borg's record 41.
• No. 2 seed Roddick got a serious wake-up call Friday when little-known "lucky loser" Daniele Bracciali had the 2004 finalist on the ropes after overcoming a two-set deficit to force a fifth. Roddick, however, dug deep in the decider to get the win and secure his first five-set victory since a 2003 U.S. Open semifinal triumph over Nalbandian. In Igor Andreev, Roddick faces a player with a huge forehand and a big serve with a game that can pull the upset. Last year, the Russian defeated then-defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second round at the French Open, and on grass just a month later he defeated former Wimbledon champion Andre Agassi at Queen's. The 21-year old Andreev, who trains in Spain, reached the second round here last year in his first appearance where he lost in five sets to Fernando Gonzalez. Andreev and Roddick have never played before.
• Top seed Lindsay Davenport has enjoyed an easy road thus far, dropping just five games in her first two matches. Her opponent Saturday, Dinara Safina, the younger sister of Marat, is also playing well having not been tested in this, her best Wimbledon of her career. Davenport and her teenage Russian opponent played in the fall of last year, with the American veteran easily winning in straight sets. Lest we forget, Davenport won this title back in 1999 and finished runner-up the following year. Safina is looking to join four other countrywomen in the top half of the draw while Davenport could meet Belgian nemesis Kim Clisters in the fourth round.
• Serena and Venus Williams are back looking to regain the dominance they held here before Sharapova ended their four-year family win streak a year ago. The sisters stand just a win away from a colossal fourth round Monday meeting. Before that, they must get through one more match, which as we have seen this week, has been anything but a given. Serena, who has needed three sets in both her two wins, figures to have the easier time against 30-year-old fellow American Jill Craybas. Serena, who is a perfect 9-0 in Grand Slam play this year, has won both career meetings with former Florida Gator surrendering just seven games in two matches. Meanwhile, Venus meets the resurgent No. 20 seed Daniela Hantuchova who reached the quarterfinals here in 2002. Venus has dominated the Slovak No. 1, dropping just one set in six prior victories including a win here in 2001.
• Sharapova has dropped just five games en route to the third round. The 18-year-old with the 24-karat speckled sneakers has been nothing short of golden on the grass, having won her last nine matches at Wimbledon and 19 straight overall on the turf. Her opponent, Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, has reached her first Wimbledon third round in six tries.
Others to watch
• In addition to Andrew Murray, two other teens on the men's side in 19-year-old French phenom Richard Gasquet and 18-year old Novak Djokovic of Serbia, also harbor hopes for a first appearance in week two of a Grand Slam. Gasquet will meet Luxembourg lefty and former junior No. 1 Gilles Muller, who defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets on Thursday, while Djokovic will face two-time semifinalist and No. 9 seed Sebastian Grosjean. Henman-slayer Dmitry Tursunov will have an uphill battle against Alexander Popp and tournament darkhorses Max Mirnyi and Thomas Johansson are just a win away from a fourth-round match.
Miki Singh is a tennis researcher for ESPN.
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