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June 30, 2013

New names alongside Djokovic, Murray at Wimbledon

(Continued)

LONDON —

Murray, meanwhile, has been a finalist at the last three major tournaments he entered and won the U.S. Open in September, only increasing the expectation among the locals that he can deliver Britain's first male champion at Wimbledon in 77 years.

Nothing is guaranteed right now, though.

"Second week of a Grand Slam is a new start, especially here, where you have (time) off," said 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up who faces the 104th-ranked Knapp, an Italian making her first appearance in a major's fourth round. "It's really a new tournament starting."

So on the traditional middle Sunday's day of rest, there they were on the practice courts — six-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, but also Janowicz, who'd won a grand total of six matches at major tournaments until this one; 2011 French Open champion and two-time major runner-up Li Na, but also 19-year-old Laura Robson, the first British woman to get this far at the All England Club since 1998. Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, wore thick wraps of white tape around his left knee, which he hyperextended in a tumble Saturday, and a strip of black tape down the back of that leg.

When play resumes Monday with all 16 men's and women's fourth-round matches — Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament that sets things up that way — fans get a chance to discover some folks they might not recognize immediately.

Five of the remaining 16 men are making their fourth-round Wimbledon debuts; only one in that group has ever been that far elsewhere. Six never have reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal: de Schepper, Dodig, Janowicz, Lukasz Kubot, Mannarino, and Andreas Seppi. Perhaps not coincidentally, each of those relatively unknown half-dozen players benefited from at least one of the record-tying 13 walkovers or mid-match retirements from injury or illness so far.

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