LONDON – One five-time Wimbledon champion is guaranteed to reach the quarterfinals. Another is assured of elimination.
That's what will happen Monday when Serena Williams plays older sister Venus Williams for the sixth time at the grass-court Grand Slam in southwest London.
"They've been unbelievable for the sport. I've said that many times," said Roger Federer, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who will also be playing on Manic Monday. "Their head-to-heads, I don't know how much that has to do with it. I think it's more their individual play."
Individually and together, the Williams sisters have become two of the greatest champions at the All England Club. They have each won five singles titles and have teamed up to win five more in doubles.
Against each other on the grass at Wimbledon, Serena leads 3-2, with all three of her wins coming in finals.Venus won one final, and also won a semifinal match against her younger sibling in 2000 — the first time they met on court at the tournament.
Although Serena is still at the top of her game and going for a true Grand Slam this season, Venus has been struggling for the past few years and was diagnosed with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease in 2011, three years after her last Wimbledon title. It was the previous year, in 2010, when she last reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
But this year, Venus has been nearing her past high standards, winning all three of her matches in straight sets.
"She's playing so well," Serena said. "I'm practicing next to her every day, and I'm in awe of how she's doing. It's a little frustrating because I know I have to play her."
The Williams matchup is just one of the 16 fourth-round matches on the schedule for Monday — eight for the men and eight for the women.
On the men's side
Federer is the only current player with more Wimbledon singles titles than a Williams, and the seven-time champion is one away from a record-setting eighth.
Federer has had a relatively straightforward first week, winning his first two matches in straight sets and his third in four. His next opponent is 20th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, a Spaniard who is playing at Wimbledon for the third time and has never reached the fourth round.
But for Federer, the pursuit of No. 8 and breaking the tie with Pete Sampras and 1880s player Willie Renshaw doesn't seem to be the only thing spurring him on. "This is more something like you talk about for a couple weeks, it's gone again, then you have to wait a year if you don't do it," Federer said. "I just take Wimbledon as such, what a huge tournament it is, what an opportunity it is."
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, will face Kevin Anderson, a 14th-seeded South African who has never been past the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament.
"I try to put myself only in the present moment, not fight against the thoughts and the pressure and the excitement," Djokovic said, referring to his past experiences at the grass-court major.