Venus Williams joins sister in third round at Wimbledon

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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WIMBLEDON, England - Even on one good leg, Venus Williams is tough to beat at Wimbledon.
The five-time champion wore a strap on her left knee Thursday but still advanced to the third round by beating Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2. In the men's draw, No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina became the highest seed to be eliminated so far, losing in straight sets to Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.
Tournament favourite Williams has been hampered by knee trouble in the past, but there was no indication of a problem this week until she walked onto sunny Court 1 bandaged from mid-calf to mid-thigh.
Williams let out a yelp when she appeared to pull up on a backhand in the third game, perhaps because of the knee. Otherwise she moved across the grass freely, charging forward to pounce on short balls. She won 17 points at the net to two for Bondarenko.
Williams was coy about the reason for the tape.
"Just for support," she said twice in response to questions.
Pressed about what was wrong with her knee, she said: "What happened was that I needed some support, and then I went and got the support, and then I wore it in the match. I'll be wearing it in doubles, too. So it's working out. I mean, I think all the players might start wearing it because it's so supportive."
Her mother and coach, Oracene Price, declined to discuss the matter. Williams wore the strap again later when she and sister Serena beat Virginie Razzano and Aravane Rezai in doubles, 6-3, 6-3.
In other women's doubles action, Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., and German partner Sabine Lisicki beat Estonia's Maret Ani and Italy's Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
In men's play, two-time runner-up Andy Roddick lost serve only once and defeated Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
"It was comfortable most of the time," Roddick said. "I played my best set by far in the fourth set."
Roddick will next play No. 26 Jurgen Melzer, the Wimbledon boys champion in 1999.
Hewitt, who won Wimbledon in 2002, beat del Potro 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 to break an 11-match losing streak against top-five players.
"I love playing in England," said the Australian, who was cheered on by an often raucous group of yellow-clad Australian fans on Centre Court. "It feels like a second home, really."
Hewitt was broken for the first time when serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but broke right back. He then double-faulted on his first match point in the next game before del Potro sent a shot long on the second.
Del Potro has a history of struggling on grass, and also lost in the second round the previous two years at Wimbledon.
Joining Williams in the women's third round was French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Pauline Parmentier 6-1, 6-3 in 59 minutes. The Roland Garros runner-up, top-ranked Dinara Safina, never faced a break point and beat Rossana de Los Rios 6-3, 7-5.
Last year's French Open winner, No. 13-seeded Ana Ivanovic, beat Sara Errani 7-5, 6-1. No. 17 Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon champion, beat Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-3. No. 18 Samantha Stosur, a Roland Garros semifinalist this month, swept the last five games to beat qualifier Tatjana Malek 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Safina and Kuznetsova criticized the court assignments. Kuznetsova was on Court 3, while Safina and former No. 1-ranked players Ivanovic, Mauresmo and Jelena Jankovic were also on smaller courts.
"Of course it's not fair," Safina said. "Hopefully next match I'll play on bigger court."
The only women's match on Centre Court was ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki win over Maria Kirilenko.
"I'm fine to put me wherever they want," Kuznetsova said. "They don't have to put me Centre Court. But with the schedule, this is little bit weird thing. ... But, you know, in Wimbledon you have to expect anything."

Organizations: Centre Court

Geographic location: Wimbledon, England, Argentina Australia Blainville Estonia Italy

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