18 Jun 2011

Williams sisters on opposite sides of draw

2:25 pm on 18 June 2011

The defending champion Serena Williams was drawn in the opposite side of the Wimbledon draw to her sister and five-times champion Venus but in the same half as world number one Caroline Wozniacki and another pre-tournament favourite, Maria Sharapova.

Serena, seeded seventh after being sidelined for almost a year because of life-threatening blood clots on a lung as well as a foot injury, takes on France's Aravane Rezai in the first round of what could be a tricky draw for her.

Wozniacki, seeking a maiden grand slam title, has a straightforward-looking opening match against world number 107 Arantxa Parra Santonja but danger lurks in the shape of Sharapova.

The Russian 2004 champion, who reached the French Open semi-finals this month after returning to some of her best form after two years of struggling with a shoulder injury, is seeded fifth and could meet Wozniacki in the quarter-finals.

French Open champion Li Na of China, who became the first Asian player to win a grand slam title this month, is also in Serena's half of the draw and faces Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva in round one.

Venus, back from an injury layoff, could pose an early threat to last year's runner-up Vera Zvonareva and the American knows how to win from a lower seeding having triumphed in 2007 as the 23rd seed, the same as she is this time.