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Stuart Dalgleish 14th Jun 2009 - 19:00

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Serena and Venus Williams once again look like the players to beat at this year's Wimbledon.

Dinara Safina might be world number 1, and on great form having reached six finals this year, but has proved unable to handle the pressure of a major final - losing all three Grand Slam finals she's appeared in.

Add to this the Russian has never got past the third round at SW19 and has her lowest win percentage out of the main surfaces on grass, she doesn't look to be great value at 8/1.

With an incredible 74 WTA titles between them, it's difficult to look past either Williams sister when it gets to Wimbledon - since 2000 Serena (5/2) or Venus (11/4) have contested all-bar-one of the nine finals with Venus winning five times.

The American pair possess such incredible power and are capable of blowing opponents off the court with their hard hitting strokes, as demonstrated in last year's event when both players progressed to final (which Venus won 2-0) without dropping a set. Indeed Venus hasn't lost a set here since the third round in 2007, and has only lost one match at Wimbldon in the last four years.

What about the other contenders?

Maria Sharapova has one Wimbledon title to her name, coming in 2004 in what was only her second appearance at the All England Club.

And after a lengthy layoff the Russian beauty is looking in good form, reaching the quarter-finals at the French Open (the only Grand Slam that eludes her) and the semi-finals at Birmingham getting back into the world's top 100 in the process, the only thing that could be standing in Sharapova's way could be the draw; it's likely she'll be unseeded and could face a tough route to the final.

Does she have the stamina to last the two weeks? Only time will tell after such a long time on the sidelines but, at 6/1 the former world number 1 will certainly have her backers.

Another star from Eastern Europe Ana Ivanović (12/1) has been in three Grand Slam finals but looks to have lost her best form, and much like Safina isn't particularly dominant on grass.

If she gets a decent draw a semi-final spot isn't beyond the Serb but she'll need a vast improvement to challenge either Williams sister, since lifting the French Open title in 2008 Ivanović has only reached two more finals and recently slipped out the top ten for the first time in two years. Not the sort of form that suggests winning a Wimbledon title.

Victoria Azarenka (10/1) has won three titles so far this year, comfortably beating Serena Williams in the final at Miami, and reached the quarters at the French. The Belarusian is yet to get past the third round in her previous attempts in London though and will lack the required experience that some of her fellow players have if she gets to the business end of this year's tournament.

Jelena Janković had a good year in 2008, reaching the US Open final and winning three consecutive titles towards the back end of the season. It's not been quite as successful for the Serb this season though, she picked up a title in Marbella but hasn't even reached a semi since. Grass isn't her favourite surface either and at 16/1 is probably best avoiding.

French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will certainly be full of confidence going in to Wimbledon after beating the seemingly unbeatable Safina in straight sets. The 14/1 shot has made an impact in most tournaments she's entered this year, getting to the quarters or better in five tournaments. As well as the French Open the Russian star has won in Stuttgart and reached the final in Rome, all three times playing Safina, she could well be in contention for a third Grand Slam title here.

British chances? Slim to none, but last year's junior champion Laura Robson will I'm sure just be delighted to be involved thanks to her wildcard entry. At 200/1 I'm sure a few patriotic punters will have couple of quid each way but I don't think I'll be opening my wallet!

At even bigger odds of 300/1 is Anne Keothavong, the Londoner is in the top 50 in the world and has reached three semi-finals this year but a Wimbledon title is pushing it a bit.

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