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Big names are still in the Wimbledon hunt

TBO.com The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 06:25 AM

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WIMBLEDON, England -

If it's hard to imagine how this wildest of Wimbledons - does 70-68 ring a bell? - could top itself in Week 2, consider all the characters still strutting on tennis' biggest stage.

Roger Federer, bidding for a record-tying seventh championship at the All England Club. Rafael Nadal, seeking a second after declining to defend his 2008 title because of injury. Andy Roddick, yearning for one Wimbledon trophy after three runner-up finishes. Andy Murray, well aware that all of Britain is counting on him to end its 74-year wait for a homegrown men's champion.

A pair of sisters named Serena and Venus, aiming for a fifth all-Williams final, and third in a row, at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament; one or the other has won eight of the past 10 women's titles.

Each of those names - indeed, each of the 32 men and women left in the singles draws - is featured on the fourth-round schedule when action resumes today, following Wimbledon's traditional day of rest on the middle Sunday. Two intriguing showdowns are Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova, in a rematch of the 2004 final won by the Russian; and Justine Henin vs. Kim Clijsters, in the 25th meeting between the Belgian rivals.

Before looking ahead, though, take a moment to reflect on all that's transpired through six days.

In the tournament's opening Centre Court match, 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer dropped the first two sets against a guy with a sub.-500 career record before turning things around. Nadal gutted out consecutive come-from-behind, five-set victories.

Queen Elizabeth II attended the tournament for the first time since 1977, applauding after watching Murray's second-round victory.

Novak Djokovic played the latest-finishing match in Wimbledon history, winning the last point under the roof and lights at Centre Court at 10:59 p.m., one minute before the tournament's self-imposed curfew.

Nothing, of course, tops what Tampa resident John Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France endured in the first round: It was the longest match - by far - in tennis history, a body-battering, 183-game test of will that encompassed 11 hours, 5 minutes of action over three days.

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