Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Wednesday's viewers guide
By Cynthia Faulkner
WIMBLEDON, England -- It's a rivalry. There's no doubt about it. But Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams did their best to portray it as a friendly rivalry on Tuesday.
The two meet for the 16th time on Wednesday. They've met twice before on grass, both times in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Capriati won in 2001 back when she was winning major titles. Serena won in 2003 when the same could be said of her.
Capriati has yet to drop a set so far here, while Serena has lost only 15 games so far. Serena leads their overall head-to-head edge 9-6, but Capriati has won the past two.
So far, Lleyton Hewitt's comeback at the majors has been stopped by the eventual champion. That could be a good omen for defending champion Roger Federer if he wins their quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday.
Federer hasn't lost a match on grass since the first round at Wimbledon in 2002. He needs only one more victory to share fifth place with Jimmy Connors on the list of longest grass-court win streaks in the Open Era. In addition, his serve has yet to be broken.
"I don't try to think too much of it, you know," Federer said. "I have to say every match so far has been, you know, quite unbelievable."
Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo hasn't been able to make it out of the quarterfinals at a major since the 2002 U.S. Open.
Paola Suarez of Argentina doesn't have the same problem. She reached the semifinals of the French Open and hopes to do so again at Wimbledon to shake off the label of being known only for strong doubles play.
"It's true that very often I'm seen as a doubles player, and people don't see what I do as a singles player," Suarez said. "Being here in the semifinals, I think that will help people also perceive me as a singles player."
Mauresmo seems under less pressure at Wimbledon, though, than at her home Grand Slam tournament in Paris.
"It took me a few years to understand how to play on this surface, and now I'm starting to feel comfortable," Mauresmo said. "So, it's very good feeling, actually."
This should be an interesting match between Andy Roddick and Sjeng Schalken because it will be the first time the two have played since Schalken jumped into Roddick's arms while fleeing from a hotel fire in Rome.
In five meetings, Schalken has only managed to defeat Roddick once and that was in 2001. Roddick won their past two matches at majors in straight sets.
Roddick is one of three players -- Federer and Sebastien Grosjean are the others -- to not drop a set so far.
Tim Henman will play Mario Ancic for the first time on Wimbledon's Centre Court giving Henman the home court advantage.
Henman has spent more time on court than any other quarterfinalist with 11 hours and 2 minutes, but he has reached the semifinals five times in seven appearances.
Ancic is the last player to defeat Federer at Wimbledon.
Sebastien Grosjean also has never played Florian Mayer before, who is in his first major quarterfinal.
In the past two years, Grosjean has an 18-4 record on grass. That's the third most wins on grass by any active player.
Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.