Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are double trouble

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are in their 30s, have both been ranked as the world No. 1 doubles player and between them have won nine Grand Slam doubles titles (Raymond five, Huber four) and 114 overall doubles titles (Raymond 70, Huber 44).

After lengthy and successful careers, Huber and Raymond have decided they should actually pool their resources and play together.

"I pursued and pursued Lisa," Huber, 34, said. "It was a matter of Lisa saying yes, hopefully, before we retired. I truly think she's one of the best doubles players ever, and it was my goal to be able to play with her on the same side."

They started their alliance at the Charleston tournament in April and came into the French Open with a disappointing 1-3 record.

"Like any new partnership, we had to work some things out, get those kinks out," Raymond, 37, said. "We've worked really hard in practice trying to find our rhythm."

They've finally meshed. They were seeded fourth in the French Open draw and reached the semifinals Tuesday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over fifth-seeded Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko. Next up, No. 7 seeds Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina, who upset top seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals.

Spanish legend backs Rafa

The word around Roland Garros this year has been that Rafael Nadal is not poised to defend his title. Even Nadal discussed not being the prime candidate to win after his 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 fourth- round win over Ivan Ljubicic on Monday.

"Win this tournament again?" said Nadal, a five-time champion here. "No, seriously, I am not confident. The thing is you have to be [a] realist, and today, I'm not playing well enough to win this tournament."

Nadal will play Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. The Swede is the only player Nadal has lost to at Roland Garros, in the fourth round in 2009.

There's at least one person around Roland Garros who has faith in Nadal's ability to leave here with another French title: Spanish legend Manolo Santana, a four-time Grand Slam champion during the 1960s.

It was Santana who inspired Nadal's goal to become the second Spanish man to win Wimbledon, which he achieved in 2008 before winning again in 2010.

"I think he will beat [Soderling] easily," Santana said. "Rafa says he's not playing so well, but I don't believe it. He's in the quarterfinals. I think they're talking too much that he's not playing well, because to me he's playing normally. He has a great chance to win this tournament again."

Soccer and shopping in London

Eliminated from the French Open, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki left Paris last weekend to go to London. Her destination: Wembley Stadium, to attend Barcelona's 3-1 win over Manchester United in the Champions League final on Saturday.

She did, however, plan to be back in Paris Tuesday night to attend the annual ITF World Champions Dinner. Wozniacki will receive the 2010 Women's Player of the Year award at the black-tie affair.

Rumor has it that while in London Wozniacki's mission was to find the perfect frock for the gala, being held at the Pavillon d'Armenonville. A special guest -- Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark -- was planning to attend in honor of his countrywoman Wozniacki's receiving the award.

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