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Philippoussis flying solo

Australians have become an endangered species at Wimbledon this year and Mark Philippoussis will be bidding to keep alive his country's slim title hopes on Saturday.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2003 10:45 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Australians have become an endangered species at Wimbledon this year and Mark Philippoussis will be bidding to keep alive his country's slim title hopes on Saturday.

For the first time since 1991, only one Australian has made it to the third round of the championships and the big-serving Philippoussis will be looking to come out firing on all cylinders when he faces Czech Radek Stepanek for a place in the last 16.

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt had spearheaded a six-strong Australian contingent but four days into the competition, the injury-plagued Philippoussis is the only man left standing.

Henman is also alone in shouldering the hopes of a nation. The Briton will take on Swedish qualifier Robin Soderling on Centre Court in a late match.

Soderling is the third player from the qualifying draw to face the British number one and, like his two predecessors, he is unlikely to pose much of a threat to Henman.

World number one Andre Agassi has a potentially tricky outing against talented Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui.

But having won all four of their previous encounters, Agassi should have enough weapons in his armoury to take a step closer to winning his second title here.

In the women's draw, holder Serena Williams and Justin Henin-Hardenne should have little trouble casting aside Laura Granville and Alicia Molik respectively.

Jelena Dokic, who burst on to the scene at Wimbledon four years ago, dispatching champion Martina Hingis in the first round, has been desperately searching for a way to snap out of a poor run of form.

A win over latest Russian prodigy Maria Sharapova in the third round could provide her with the boost she needs to get out of the slump.

First Published: Jun 28, 2003 10:45 IST