Author`s name Alex Naumov

Sharapova faces Venus Williams

On a day normally reserved for women's quarter-finals, two former champions will contest a top-of-the-bill fourth round tie while eight men return for the rain-delayed conclusion of their third round matches.

Second seed Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams last met here in the 2005 semi-finals, with Williams winning on the way to her third Wimbledon crown.

Weather permitting, 2004 champion Sharapova, seeded 21 places ahead of her opponent, will have her chance for revenge as the third match on Centre Court.

Champion Amelie Mauresmo faces the sternest test of her defense yet when she opens on Centre Court against 2006 French Open semi-finalist Nicole Vaidisova in the fourth round.

French Open champion Rafael Nadal and 28th seed Robin Soderling will hope to conclude their third round contest, originally scheduled for last Saturday. The number two seed holds a 2-0 lead in the fifth set.

The 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, fourth seed Novak Djokovic and sixth seed Nicolay Davydenko all hold the advantage as they too hope finally to progress to the fourth round, Reuters reports.

Venus Williams faced 23 break points, double-faulted 14 times, trailed 3-5 in the third set and drew criticism from her dad today.

Even so, she won. The three-time champion rallied past Akiko Morigami 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in a third-round match suspended Saturday.

Williams will next face 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, one of only two players to win Saturday in a rain-abbreviated schedule. Williams trailed 1-4 in the second set when her match was halted.

“If Venus moves up to the ball and takes it off the bounce instead of waiting behind the baseline, she’ll be the only one here, including Sharapova,” said Williams’ father and coach, Richard. “She’s not going to beat anyone if she’s not moving into the ball.”

Top-ranked Justine Henin, seeking the only Grand Slam title she has yet to win, became the first woman to reach the quarterfinals by beating No. 15-seeded Patty Schnyder in 56 minutes, 6-2, 6-2.

“I was a little bit surprised that the match was that quick,” Henin said. “I was ready to have a good fight.”
Henin has lost 15 games in four rounds.

“I did my job perfectly until now,” she said.

In the completion of third-round matches suspended Saturday, No. 5-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-3; No. 6 Ana Ivanovic defeated Aravane Rezai 6-3, 6-2; No. 11 Nadia Petrova swept Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-3, 7-6 (3); No. 12 Elena Dementieva lost to 16-year-old Tamira Paszek of Austria 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; and No. 14 Nicole Vaidisova beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2.

In men’s third-round play, No. 7 Tomas Berdych beat Lee Hyung-taik 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).

The start of play was delayed nearly an hour by showers — the sixth time in seven days there has been a rain interruption, the AP reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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