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Monday at Wimbledon: Williams sisters take center stage

World rankings in parentheses:

Venus Williams (3) vs.

Ana Ivanovic (12), Serbia

In advance of this starry matchup between former No. 1s, Williams has won an astounding 29 consecutive sets at Wimbledon dating to 2007. This has presented a major problem to opponents as time has proved it’s very hard to beat the other player if you cannot win any sets.

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Serena Williams (2) vs.

Daniela Hantuchova (32), Slovakia

As she passed career Grand Slam match No. 200 on Friday, Williams improved to 172-28 for a percentage of .860, No. 1 among active players. Of course, with her constitution, she’s probably just a tiny bit miffed it’s not 200-0.

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Andy Roddick (6) vs.

Tomas Berdych (20), Czech Republic

Berdych once held down No. 9, yet most people wouldn’t recognize him if he came to their front door one day next week. Then again, he might knock on the odd door of some wise guy who’d say, “Why are you 0-11 against top-10 players in Grand Slam matches?”

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Melanie Oudin (124) vs.

Agnieszka Radwanska (14), Poland

She’s a 17-year-old, 5-foot-6 American revelation whose coach says she doesn’t ever get mad or bang or throw her racquet. It’s a case of outright ingenuity when somebody can win without such a vital part of the game.

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Roger Federer (2), Switzerland, vs.

Robin Soderling (12), Sweden

After raising his record to 11-0 today against fellow French Open finalist Soderling, it would be nice if Federer could reach into his gym bag and present Soderling with some sort of gift in gratitude for his shocking removal of Rafael Nadal in Paris. Maybe he could just give him one of his Wimbledon trophies since he has so many.

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Andy Murray (3), Britain, vs.

Stanislas Wawrinka (18), Switzerland

Here we go toward Sunday. Don’t forget the earplugs.

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Dinara Safina (1), Russia, vs.

Amelie Mauresmo (17), France

Here’s a fascinating matchup that includes a grand old player in Mauresmo who often can be seen playing in that area of the court that’s really near the net, hitting the balls even before they bounce and not even worrying about the No Trespassing sign that apparently stands at the service lines. It’s so creative.

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Novak Djokovic (4), Serbia, vs.

Dudi Sela (46), Israel

If this theme of the lack of attention paid to Djokovic keeps persisting, he’s going to wind up getting way too much attention for the lack of attention.

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Lleyton Hewitt (56), Australia vs.

Radek Stepanek (23), Czech Republic

The questions toward Hewitt the other day strayed to whether he helps out changing diapers, proving that while information remains crucial to free societies, there remains ample room for practicing excessive journalism.

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Caroline Wozniacki (9), Denmark, vs. Sabine Lisicki (41), Germany

These promising friends, still only 18 and 19, speak Danish and German, respectively, plus English and Polish, the last of which they speak to each other. Do you ever see these things and just feel like a complete rube?

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Fernando Verdasco (8), Spain, vs.

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Ivo Karlovic (36), Croatia

The foremost question here is not who’ll win. With the presence of the 6-foot-10 Karlovic and his thundering serves that made his match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a staccato eyesore, it’s whether Verdasco ought to turn up wearing a cricket helmet.

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Victoria Azarenka (8), Belarus, vs.

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Nadia Petrova (10), Russia

In a tender scene during the first week, the onrushing 19-year-old Azarenka defended grunters, saying they include “70% of the whole tour.” It has become apparent that grunters everywhere might need to form advocacy groups if not necessarily hire lobbyists.

-- Chuck Culpepper


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