Djokovic, Federer could meet in Wimbledon final; Simona Halep out

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By Associated Press

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were placed on opposite sides of the Wimbledon bracket in Friday’s draw, meaning they only could meet in the final — which would be a rematch of their epic 2019 title showdown.

The top-seeded Djokovic will have a lot at stake when play begins at the All England Club on Monday, a year after the grass-court tournament was canceled because of the pandemic.

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He seeks a 20th major title, which would tie the men’s record shared by Federer and Rafael Nadal; he can move closer to a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open in February and the French Open this month; he will be trying to win his third consecutive trophy, and sixth overall, at Wimbledon. Two years ago, Djokovic edged Federer in a fifth-set tiebreaker after saving two championship points in the final.

The 2019 women’s champion, Simona Halep, pulled out of Wimbledon just before the draw, citing an injured left calf that also forced her to sit out Roland Garros. That means two of the top three players in the WTA rankings are missing from the field; No. 2 Naomi Osaka withdrew last week.

Two of the top five men are out, too: No. 3 Nadal and No. 5 Dominic Thiem.

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The potential women’s quarterfinals based on seedings are No. 1 Ash Barty vs. No. 5 Bianca Andreescu, and No. 3 Elina Svitolina vs. No. 6 Serena Williams in the top half; No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No. 7 Iga Swiatek, and No. 4 Sofia Kenin vs. No. 8 Karolina Pliskova in the bottom half.

The possible men’s quarterfinals are Djokovic vs No. 5 Andrey Rublev, and No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. No. 8 Roberto Bautista Agut in the top half; No. 2 Daniil Medvedev vs. No. 6 Federer, and No. 4 Alexander Zverev vs. No. 7 Matteo Berrettini in the bottom half.

Among the noteworthy first-round men’s matchups are Djokovic against wild-card entry Jack Draper, a 19-year-old from England who was the Wimbledon boys’ runner-up in 2018; two-time champion Andy Murray against No. 24 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili; and No. 21 Ugo Humbert against Nick Kyrgios.

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Women’s first-rounders of particular interest include Barty against Carla Suárez Navarro, a 32-year-old Spaniard who recently returned to competition after being treated for cancer; 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams against 100th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who reached Wimbledon’s fourth round in 2018; French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova against 18-year-old Clara Tauson; and two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova against 2017 U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens.

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