Wil­liams sis­ters to do bat­tle

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

SER­ENA and Venus Wil­liams will to­day clash at Wim­ble­don for the first time in six years, while Maria Shara­pova and Caro­line Woz­ni­acki will fancy their ti­tle chances as two of the four top- 10 play­ers in the last 16.

To­day’s meet­ing will be the 26th bat­tle be­tween the Wil­liams sis­ters, who have won the Wim­ble­don ti­tle five times each over the last 15 years.

“If I see her in a match in a tight spot, I know ex­actly what that feels like,” Venus said.

“I think that’s a unique re­la­tion­ship, that is pretty rare in sport, that she and I share.” Ser­ena holds the US, Aus­tralian and French Open ti­tles but reck­ons Venus is in bet­ter form.

“It will be a re­ally good match. I’m prac­tis­ing next to her ev­ery day and I’m in awe of how she’s do­ing,” she said.

With ei­ther world No. 1 Ser­ena or 16th- seeded Venus cer­tain to fall, the sec­ond week at Wim­ble­don is look­ing ap­petis­ing for the other sil­ver­ware con­tenders at the All Eng­land Club.

Ser­ena, Shara­pova, Woz­ni­acki and Lu­cie Sa­farova are the only top 10 seeds re­main­ing in the draw.

Fourth seed Shara­pova, a five- time Grand Slam cham­pion, faces Za­rina Diyas of Kaza­khstan for a spot in the quar­ter- fi­nals. The Rus­sian won Wim­ble­don in 2004 but has only made it past the fourth round once since 2006.

While one of the Wil­liams sis­ters could face Shara­pova or Sa­farova in the semi- fi­nals, Woz­ni­acki can­not meet any of them be­fore the fi­nal and only has lower- ranked play­ers in her way. The for­mer world No. 1 faces Span­ish 20th seed Gar­bine Mugu­ruza in the fourth round.

The dearth of re­main­ing top 10 play­ers means sixth seed Sa­farova, who ghosted through the first week, is now also look­ing like a se­ri­ous con­tender.

Last month’s French Open run­ner- up reached the Wim­ble­don semi- fi­nals last year and faces Coco Vandeweghe, the US world No. 47.

Another for­mer world No. 1, Je­lena Jankovic, is hun­gry for more af­ter knock­ing out Pe­tra Kvi­tova.

Venus Wil­liams

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