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Wimbledon -- women's singles preview

  • Story Highlights
  • The Williams sisters are expected to dominate women's singles once again
  • The American have won seven out of the last nine Wimbledon tournaments
  • Top seed Dinara Safina heads the rankings despite not winning a grand slam
By Greg Duke
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(CNN) -- There is a general consensus that women's tennis needs a new name to ignite some excitement into it and, at this week's Wimbledon, it does appear likely that the Williams sisters will once again be the ones to beat at the grass-court grand slam.

The Williams sisters have dominated Wimbledon this century and contested last year's final.

The Williams sisters have dominated Wimbledon this century and contested last year's final.

Defending champion Venus (five wins) and younger sibling Serena (two wins) have dominated the tournament since 2000, with only Maria Sharapova (2004) and Amelie Mauresmo (2006) breaking that monopoly.

In fact, the Williams domination has been so great this century that the 2006 final -- when Mauresmo beat Justine Henin -- is the only final when one of the American duo has not been involved.

Both Sharapova and Mauresmo are back this year, although their participation had seemed in doubt in the early part of 2009.

Sharapova certainly has the powerful game to claim another Wimbledon title, but a persistent shoulder injury has plagued her all year and she comes into the competition poorly prepared.

At nearly 30, Mauresmo is now a veteran of the WTA Tour. She had looked a spent force last year, but has enjoyed some better results this year and comes into the tournament as the 17th seed.

A potential third round showdown with top seed Dinara Safina will test her to the limit, although she would undoubtedly have the fans' support should that encounter materialize.

Safina's standing as world number one has divided opinion. The Russian is yet to win a grand slam and wasted another opportunity to end that particular hoodoo when losing to compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova in the French Open final last month.

The 23-year-old comes into the tournament with a niggling knee injury and has not impressed in her pre-tournament displays. The feeling remains that should the Williams sisters decided to play more WTA events then one of them, and not Safina, would be topping the world rankings.

Russians Elena Dementieva and Kuznetsova are seeded fourth and fifth and both have chances should they bring their top game to SW19, although again it is hard to see one of them defeating an in-form Williams sister.

Former world number one Jelena Jankovic has slipped down the world rankings this year and she too has yet to win a major, while 13th-seed Ana Ivanovic has not shown anything like the form that saw her win last year's French Open.

Last year's semifinalist Jie Zheng of China loves the surface and could figure again. Unfortunately for her, she is due to face Serena Williams in the fourth round.

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