Second week at Wimbledon starts with interesting matchups

WIMBLEDON, England -- With week one at Wimbledon in the books and all quiet (and wet) on the middle Sunday at the All England Club, here's a look at what to watch in the week ahead: Most Intriguing Fourth Round Match-Up

Venus Williams


Maria Sharapova

. Sharapova holds a 3-1 career advantage, but Williams's victory came in their lone grass court meeting - at 2005 Wimbledon. As the number 14 seed, Williams toppled defending champion Sharapova in the semis and went on to win her third Wimbledon title in a thrilling three set final against Lindsay Davenport.

Williams is seeded even lower this year, 23rd, which helps explain why two former champions are set to meet so early in the tournament. (With her schedule limited due to a wrist injury, Williams is ranked 31 in the world, but got a slight bump up from the seeding committee based on past grass court success.)

It's unfortunate for both players that a match-up perhaps worthy of a final will take place in the round of 16, but the match could prove to be the early highlight of week two. Of course Williams still has some work to do, as her third round match against Akiko Morigami was suspended due to rain on Saturday. Williams won the first set, but trails 1-4 in the second.

Another potential premature meeting looms in the quarters, where two-time champion Serena Williams, seeded seventh, could face world number one Justine Henin in a rematch of their quarterfinal meeting (won by Henin) at Roland Garros last month.

Most Surprising Fourth Round Match-Up

Laura Granville vs. Michaella Krajicek. The American veteran and the Dutch teenager both booked their spots in week two by beating top 10 players in the third round.

Granville, who won two NCAA titles at Stanford, took out 1997 champ Martina Hingis, hobbled by ailing hips, to match her best-ever result in a Grand Slam (she also made the fourth round here five long years ago).

Krajicek, the younger sister of 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard, advanced to the second week of a Slam for the first time by stopping the considerable momentum of number eight seed Anna Chakvetadze. The Russian made the quarterfinals at the French Open and upset Jelena Jankovic (the likely quarterfinal opponent awaiting the winner of the Granville/Krajicek match) at s'Hertogenbosch, the grass court warm-up event that, coincidentally, Krajicek won last year.

Hard Luck Haas

Tommy Haas, the number 13 seed, announced his withdrawal from the tournament today due to a torn stomach muscle, an injury that flared up during his third round victory over Dmitry Tursunov on Friday. This marks the third time that Haas's Wimbledon has been cut short by something other than an on-court loss. In 2005, the injury-plagued Haas rolled his ankle on a tennis ball while warming up for his first round match against Janko Tipsarevic and after trying to play, retired early in the second set. In 2001, a heat-induced gastric illness forced him to retire in the first round against Wayne Black.

Staying Alive

Speaking of Wayne... Australian wild card Wayne Arthurs, now 36 years old, is still alive in this year's tournament. The oldest man in the draw will take on the second oldest, Jonas Bjorkman, in a third round battle between two members of the 35-and-over club.

Also still alive, every Serbian player that entered the main singles draw: the three French Open semifinalists - Novak Djokovic, Jelena Jankovic, and finalist Ana Ivanovic - as well as world number 64 Janko Tipsarevic, who upset number five seed Fernando Gonzalez in the third round.

Federer/Nadal Rematch Watch

Haas's early exit leaves tournament favorite Roger Federer without a fourth round opponent and sends the four-time champion directly into the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is still stranded in the third round. His match against Robin Soderling, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed due to rain.

So should the much-anticipated final between Federer and Nadal come to pass, Haas's withdrawal (and the weather) could have residual effects. While Federer gets a few days to rest and has at most three remaining matches, Nadal would have to play five matches in seven days to win the title. Of course no player in tennis exudes more energy than Nadal, but when it comes to facing Federer at Wimbledon, no one wants to cede any advantage.

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