Five days into the fortnight, the top half of the men's draw at Wimbledon is beginning to take shape and the future possibilities are quite interesting.
In fact, the top half features remaining seeds to please fans of all tastes.There is the cocky and sometimes abrasive defending champion, Australian Pat Cash, honing his abilities and behaving as if the defending his title does not concern him a bit.
There is the vanquished champion, West German Boris Becker, smashing unreturnable serves and playing as well as anyone.
There is the consistent but unappreciated No. 1 seed, Ivan Lendl, still obsessed with winning the Grand Slam title that has eluded him.
Next, there is the fabulous, flamboyant Frenchman, Henri LeConte, who is capable of hitting winners from any spot on the court.
Lastly, there is the ubiquitous but unheralded darkhorse, Tim Mayotte, who has made it a habit of advancing into the later rounds of this prestigious event but has never been able to get over the hump.
While the bottom half of the draw - which will be in action with third-round matches Saturday - includes Grand Slam contender Mats Wilander, the ever-dangerous Stefan Edberg and the ageles Jimmy Connors, the top half is much more likely to produce the champion.
The bottom half, after all, has lost John McEnroe, everyone's favorite darkhorse, and two other seeds, while the top half is almost completely intact, save for losing the 12th, 14th and 15th seeds.
The quarterfinal possibilites in the top half are scintillating: Lendl and either Mayotte or Leconte in one and Becker and Cash in the other.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was Lendl who experienced the stiffest test Friday, needing five sets and three hours and 52 minutes to dispose of Michiel Schapers of the Netherlands.
Ironically, Schapers is a Lendl protege, and the men have almost identical styles.
Cash, meanwhile, atoned for his sloppy second-round match against Javier Frana by making short work of Aussie John Fitzgerald, who happens to be one of his closest friends. Cash, seeded fourth, won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
As for Becker, seeded sixth, he took longer than he wanted to dispose of Sammy Giammalva. Becker, whose 12 aces gave him 50 for three matches, had difficulty putting his opponent away, failing on numerous break points, and ultimately needed two hours, 35 minutes to win, 7-6 (-4), 6-4, 6-4.
Seventh seed LeConte, the French Open finalist, overcame a sluggish start for the second straight match, this time against baseliner Barry Moir of South Africa, to win 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (-0), 6-1.
As for Mayotte, the Bostonian who is seeded 10th, he advanced to the round of 16 for the seventh time in eight years by outlasting Joakim Nystrom of Sweden, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The other three players who secured berths in the round of 16 were Paul Annacone of Knoxville, Tenn., Mark Woodforde of Australia and Andrei Olkhovski of the Soviet Union. Annacone, who advanced to the quarterfinals here in 1984, was a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 winner over 12th-seeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden.
Meanwhile there was an upset of somewhat grand proportions on the women's side Friday, as Hana Mandlikova continued her penchant for losing earlier than she is expected, falling 6-4, 6-4 to unseeded Australian Anne Minter in a third-round match.
Other women to advance included: Zina Garrison, Mary Joe Fernandez, Pascale Paradis, Barbara Potter and top-seed Steffi Graf who breezed through her match against Terry Phelps.
Lendl, meanwhile, had a lot of difficulty. But he seems to thrive in close matches.