Roddick, Djokovic in Federer's half

Updated: June 18, 2010, 12:10 PM ET
Associated Press

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 year.

Second-seeded and 2008 winner Rafael Nadal has Andy Murray and Robin Soderling in the bottom half of the draw.

How Draw Will Play Out

Our ESPN analysts and ESPN.com staff predict the winners, unexpected early losers and surprise contenders of the upcoming fortnight at the All England Club. Experts' picks

• Garber: Federer remains undaunted

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 Williams has former winner Maria Sharapova and French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur in her half. Five-time champion Venus Williams 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 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 set.

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 U.S. 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.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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