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Williams Sisters Survive Graveyard

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: May 23, 2013 at 09:48 AM
WIMBLEDON, England -

WIMBLEDON, England - While Roger Federer glided to another victory on Centre Court, and Rafael Nadal won despite a scary stumble on Court 1, the Williams sisters found themselves playing back to back Monday on cozy, clattery Court 2, known as the "Graveyard of Champions."

"It wasn't what I would have liked to see," Serena Williams said. "Initially I thought, 'OK, is this the right schedule?' I thought maybe there was a mistake."

The sisters said Wimbledon gives men preferential treatment in court assignments, while Federer came to the defense of the All England Club, and the tournament referee said there was no intent to slight anyone.

Even after Venus and Serena spent the day at the Graveyard, their title hopes remained very much alive.

Four-time champion Venus played first, making a high-noon entrance on the court known for its history of upsets and beating Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 6-4. Ninety minutes later, two-time Serena joined her older sister in the quarterfinals by defeating Bethanie Mattek 6-3, 6-3.

The fourth round claimed No. 2-seeded Jelena Jankovic and No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, leaving No. 5 Elena Dementieva as the highest-seeded survivor among the final eight.

The elimination before the quarterfinals of the women seeded Nos. 1-4 has never previously happened at Wimbledon since the tournament began keeping such records in 1927. It's the first time it has happened at any Grand Slam event in the 40-year Open era.

Jankovic, slowed by a knee injury she suffered in the previous round, lost to No. 60-ranked Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-2. Kuznetsova was beaten by No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

Their defeats ensure Ana Ivanovic of retaining the No. 1 ranking next week, even though she was beaten by Zheng Jie in the third round. The No. 133-ranked Zheng became a first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist by beating No. 15-seeded Agnes Szavay 6-3, 6-4.

Alla Kudryavtseva, who upset No. 3-seeded Maria Sharapova in the second round, was eliminated by Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-4.

Tanasugarn, a first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist at age 31, will play Venus Williams today. The 19-year-old Radwanska will face Serena Williams.

In the men's draw, the No. 1-ranked Federer and No. 2 Nadal remain on course to meet in the final for the third consecutive year.

While Federer beat 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt for the 12th time in a row, Nadal hurt his right leg against Mikhail Youzhny but still won 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Nadal will next play No. 12-seeded Andy Murray, who beat Richard Gasquet, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-4.

Federer beat Hewitt 7-6 (7), 6-2, 6-4, while Mario Ancic outlasted Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 13-11.

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