Federer and Djokovic could meet in Wimbledon final; Halep out

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In Friday’s draw Novak Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion, and Roger Federer, the eight-time titlist were drawn on opposite halves of Wimbledon brackets. This meant that they could only meet in the final — which would see them rematch their epic 2019 title showdown.

No. Simona Halep, the third-ranked player in the WTA rankings, pulled out of this draw just before the draw started. She cited a torn left leg that had also caused her to miss the French Open. Two of the three top WTA players are now out of the field, No. Last week, Naomi Osaka resigned.

“I can honestly tell you that I am very down and upset by having to make this decision. This has been a difficult period, but to have missed the last two Majors has made this even more difficult mentally and physically,” Halep posted on social media. “We’ll see what the future holds, but I hope it will make us stronger as a person and an athlete.”

The top five male players are also out: No. 3 Rafael Nadal is a Wimbledon champion twice and No. 5 Dominic Thiem is the 2020 U.S. Open champion.

Djokovic, the top-seeded player, will be in for a big match at the All England Club on Monday. This is one year after the grass-court tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Wimbledon was not contested for the first time since World War II.

Djokovic, a 34 year-old Serbian, is seeking a 20th major title. He can also move closer to a calendar year Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open in February, and the French Open this month. He will be trying for his sixth consecutive trophy at Wimbledon.

After saving two championship points in Wimbledon’s final, Djokovic beat Federer in Wimbledon’s fifth-set tiebreaker.

Federer will turn 40 on August 8. He has had two operations to his right knee and has only played eight matches in the last 16 months.

Djokovic is still pursuing Slam No. 20. Serena Williams will again attempt to reach No. 24 would tie her with Margaret Court as the most successful singles player in tennis history. Williams’ 23 singles titles, seven of which were at the All England Club, are the most since the Open era began in 1968, when professional players were allowed to compete in majors.

Williams, No. 6, is seeded No. 6 will play against Aliaksandra Snovich, 100th in ranking. She reached Wimbledon’s fourth round last year. The American 39-year old could face No. 25 Angelique Kerber, who beat Williams in 2018’s final — in round three. 20 Coco Gauff — A 17-year-old American girl who beat Williams’ older sister Venus at the All England Club 2019 — in fourth.

Williams could face No. 2 if she makes it to the quarterfinals. 3 Elina Svitolina who lost to Halep two years ago in the semifinals. Based on seedings, there are other potential quarterfinal spots for women: No. 1 Ash Barty vs. 5 Bianca Andreescu (No. 2 Aryna Sabahlenka vs. 7 Iga Swiatek and No. 4 Sofia Kenin vs. 8 Karolina Pliskova

Djokovic vs. No. 5 Andrey Rublev (No. 3 Stefanos Tisipas vs. 8 Roberto Bautista Agut Federer vs. 2 Daniil Medvedev vs. 6 Federer and No. 4 Alexander Zverev against No. 7 Matteo Berrettini.

Djokovic versus Jack Draper, an 18-year-old wild-card entry from England who was the Wimbledon boys’ runner-up in 2018, and Andy Murray against No. No. 24 seed Nikoloz Baskalashvili; and no. 21 Ugo Humbert against Nick Kyrgios

The first rounders for women are of particular interest to Barty against Carla Suarez Navarro (a 32-year old Spaniard who recently returned from cancer treatment); Barbora Krejcikova, the French Open champion, against Clara Tauson (18); and Petra Kvitova, two-time Wimbledon champ against Sloane Stephens (17).