Wimbledon draw sets up another possible Djokovic, Federer semi

By Howard Fendrich, AP

WIMBLEDON, England — Random as Grand Slam tournament draws are meant to be, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer keep bumping into each other in major semifinals, and it could happen again at Wimbledon.

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic, the defending champion, and No. 3 Federer — a six-time winner at the All England Club — were placed in the same half of this year’s field Friday. They’ve played in the semifinals at five of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments, with Djokovic holding a 4-1 edge, including a victory two weeks ago at the French Open.

Similarly, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray are making a habit of major semifinal meetings: Wimbledon could make the fifth time in nine majors they’ve played at that stage. Nadal is 4-0 against Murray in that stretch, including at the All England Club in 2010 and 2011.

The potential men’s quarterfinals at Wimbledon, where play begins Monday, include Djokovic vs. No. 6 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 runner-up; Federer vs. No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic or No. 11 John Isner, the big-serving, 6-foot-9 American best known for beating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of the longest match in tennis history; two-time champion Nadal vs. No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga; and Murray vs. No. 7 David Ferrer or No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro.

Isner, it so happens, could wind up with a second-round match against Mahut — an annual occurrence at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. After their 11-plus-hour marathon in the first round in 2010, they met again in the first round last year.

The women’s quarterfinals set up by Friday’s draw are No. 1 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 8 Angelique Kerber; No. 6 Serena Williams, a four-time champion, vs. Petra Kvitova, the defending champion; No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska or Venus Williams vs. No. 5 Sam Stosur; and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 7 Caroline Wozniacki.

Sharapova and four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams could meet only in the final — which would be a rematch of 2004, when Sharapova won her first major title.

Coming off a French Open championship that completed a career Grand Slam, Sharapova managed to avoid plenty of top players who wound up on the other half of the bracket, including Kvitova, Wozniacki, Julia Goerges, Ana Ivanovic and Marion Bartoli.

Sharapova’s toughest early test might come in the second round against 40th-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who upset Venus Williams en route to the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2010, then got to the quarterfinals last year.