Serena courts controversy

SERENA WILLIAMS has warned Wimbledon chiefs she deserves the same treatment as the top men after being kept off Centre Court and Court One again.

The defending women’s champion, who has won four singles titles and a further four doubles titles at the all England club, was sent to the distant Court Two for her second-round tie with Romanian Simona Halep, which she won in three sets.

So too was Williams’ sister Venus, the five-time singles champion, for her opening match on Monday.

For Serena it meant venturing out of her comfort zone, and the 29-year-old believes she and Venus are getting a raw deal in comparison to the elite men.

“Yeah, they’re never moved across,” she said. “Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players, or by ourselves in doubles even.

“They like to put us on Court Two, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out. I don’t know.”

The younger Williams sister has indicated she will not necessarily take it in her stride if she is sent away from the two main show courts again.

“I don’t necessarily think I should,” Williams said. “I try to play my match and take that first and foremost, deal with whatever later. But obviously they’re not going to change.”

She added: “I don’t make it a big issue. I think at some point maybe I should. I don’t know.”

Meanwhile wild card Sabine Lisicki saved two match points on her way to a 3-6 6-4 8-6 victory over French Open champion Li Na in a second-round classic on Centre Court last evening.

The German was a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon two years ago and looked set to break into the top 20 before an ankle injury ruled her out for five months and sent her ranking tumbling outside 200.

Lisicki recovered from losing the first set to seal a famous victory, although the third seed will feel she should have won having twice served for the match.

In men’s action, Roger Federer lost just seven games on his way to completing a second-round victory over Adrian Mannarino last night.

The six-time champion hardly broke sweat as he outclassed his French opponent 6-2 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes on Centre Court.

The victory means that the top four men’s seeds are now in the last 32.

Novak Djokovic followed Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal through after sweeping past South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-4 6-2 on Court One.

Lleyton Hewitt was in no mood to call time on his career after a five-set defeat to Robin Soderling on Centre Court.

Having suffered from a foot injury for the best part of the last year, the 30-year-old South Australian surprised many as he raced into a two-set lead over the fifth seed.

The Swede found his game – in particular his serve – in the third set, though, and sent down 28 aces during the match on his way to a first win from two sets behind in his career.

Afterwards, Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion, was probed as to his future plans, with some observers shocked that he had even played this year, owing to fitness concerns. “Not playing did not enter my head, believe it or not,” he said.

There were emotional scenes on Court One in the evening as Queen’s finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled back from a set down to complete a four-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in a lengthy and entertaining match.

The Frenchman leapt over the net and picked up his floored opponent in a sporting gesture after winning a thrilling fourth-set tie break to take the match 6-7 (7/4) 6-4 6-4 7-6 (10/8).

Juan Martin Del Potro will line up against Gilles Simon in round three after dismissing Olivier Rochus 6-7 (9/7) 6-1 6-0 6-4.

David Nalbandian will face Federer in the last 32 having come through his match against Andreas Haider-Maurer with a four-set win, while John Isner’s Wimbledon campaign came to an end with a 6-7 (7/3) 6-7 (7/5) 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 loss to Nicolas Almagro.

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