Williams sisters slated to play today when Wimbledon resumes

Venus and Serena Williams have won five of the past seven titles.

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — A year ago, Week 2 of Wimbledon began without a Williams in sight.

Venus Williams was gone after a third-round upset. Serena Williams never showed up, part of a six-month stretch during which she was injured and fell out of the Top 100.

Winners of five of the past seven titles at the All England Club, the siblings both are scheduled to be on court today, when play resumes after a rainy first week and the traditional middle Sunday off.

Each has a singles match, and they’re also slated to play doubles together today.

“You know what? I’m playing really well. I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling really positive,” the No. 7-seeded Serena said. “I’m feeling like I’m going to get there.”

She is due to face No. 10 Daniela Hantuchova in the fourth round Monday, with a possible quarterfinal against No. 1 Justine Henin looming.

Venus has some catching up to do: Her third-round match against 71st-ranked Akiko Morigami of Japan was suspended by rain Saturday, with the American trailing 4-1 in the second set after winning the first.

Could meet Sharapova

If Venus — who won the grass-court Grand Slam tournament in 2000, 2001 and 2005 — can get past Morigami, a fourth-round matchup against 2004 champion Maria Sharapova would await.

Serena was ready to look ahead even before her older sister earned a place in that showdown.

“Venus has the game to beat Maria, especially on grass. Venus has a great serve. I mean, she runs like the wind. She’s so tall. She’s playing well. She definitely has the game to beat her,” said Serena, who defeated Venus in the 2002 and 2003 Wimbledon finals.

“With that being said, she just has to go out there and do it. And she can do it.”

Sharapova is one of only three singles players in the men’s and women’s tournaments who doesn’t have to play today. She and reigning champion Amelie Mauresmo were able to finish wins in the 75-minute window without heavy rain Saturday.

The only other person who gets Monday off? Roger Federer.

As if the four-time defending champion needed any help, he got a free pass into the quarterfinals when his fourth-round foe, No. 13 Tommy Haas of Germany, withdrew Sunday because of a torn stomach muscle.

“To pull out of this match, against Roger on Centre Court — which is why you play the game — is obviously very disappointing,” Haas said. “Can’t even put it in words.”

More rain in forecast

It rained Sunday, too, for good measure, and today’s forecast calls for more showers. To accommodate the backlog of matches, play will start on the show courts at 11 a.m., two hours earlier than usual.

Two-time finalist Andy Roddick will play Paul-Henri Mathieu in a fourth-round match, while third-round action includes last year’s runner-up, No. 2 Rafael Nadal, against Robin Soderling, and 36-year-old Wayne Arthurs against 35-year-old Jonas Bjorkman in a matchup of the tournament’s two oldest entrants.

In women’s third-round matches suspended in progress Saturday, French Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic, No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 11 Nadia Petrova, No. 12 Elena Dementieva and No. 14 Nicole Vaidisova all take a one-set lead into today.

Henin plays No. 15 Patty Schnyder, No. 3 Jelena Jankovic meets No. 18 Marion Bartoli, and No. 31 Michaella Krajicek plays unseeded Laura Granville of the United States in the fourth round.

While the men’s championship is widely considered Federer’s to lose, about a half-dozen women are considered title contenders.

“It’s still pretty open,” Mauresmo said.

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