Wimbledon: Day 2 Preview
Published June 23, 2009 09:38
LONDON, UK - The top half of the draw plays its opening round matches on Tuesday, with defending champion Venus Williams holding up the tradition of playing first on Centre Court, against a Wimbledon debutante. Over on Court 1, top seed Dinara Safina has a chance to find her footing against an opponent who is more comfortable on clay. Several talented teens will also take to the grass courts.
 Venus Williams (USA) vs. Stefanie Voegele (SUI)
Just turned 29, five-time champion Venus has the best grass court winning percentage among active players (.873, 62-9), and of course in the Open era only Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf have won more Wimbledon titles (nine and seven respectively). So the task facing 19-year-old Voegele, who is playing just her second main draw match at a Grand Slam - and first at Wimbledon - is immense. That said, the world No.98 reached her first Tour quarterfinal at Birmingham two weeks ago, and was runner-up at the ITF Women's Circuit event at Nottingham the week before, so she is developing an affinity for grass. But her best win to date has been over world No.43 Ekaterina Makarova, and although she pushed Flavia Pennetta to three sets at the US Open last year, will find Venus operates at an altogether higher plane here.
 Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP)
Safina leads 3-0
Although Safina's No.1 ranking is safe until at least the end of July, right now she is surely more concerned with winning her first Grand Slam title, and in that context probably wouldn't have been too unhappy when she saw she was playing the world No.72. Indeed, the bad news for 28-year-old Domínguez Lino is that all three of Safina's previous wins over her have come on clay, the Spaniard's favorite surface. So, as the supremely talented Russian looks to erase the memory of her recent defeats at Roland Garros and 's-Hertogenbosch, and reach the second week at Wimbledon for the first time in her career - her best results to date have been three third round runs - this match should allow her to ease into the tournament.
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. [WC] Kimiko Date Krumm
Of all the young pretenders to the throne of women's tennis, 18-year-old Wozniacki arrives at Wimbledon with the best grass court credentials, hot from her trophy-lifting run at Eastbourne on Saturday. Now with five titles under her belt, she'll be a difficult opponent to anyone this fortnight, and it will be interesting to see how Japanese wildcard Date Krumm, whose 'first' career reached its zenith in the 1990s, handles her. Now 38, the Japanese icon lost to Graf here in the semis in 1999, and, not long after, gave it all away while she was still in the Top 10. Sure, Date Krumm made her Wimbledon debut in 1989, the year before Wozniacki was born, but is it really too late to turn back the clock? Probably, but the contrast in styles should be a joy to watch.
(32) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) vs. Sabine Lisicki (GER)
Lisicki leads 1-0
With her booming serve and forehand, it can only be a matter of time before Lisicki is seeded at Grand Slams. After all, the 19-year-old beat Venus and Wozniacki on her way to capturing the Premier-level Family Circle Cup at Charleston earlier this year. For now, though, she presents as a dangerous floater, and not a player Chakvetadze will be happy to see across the net. Lisicki won their only previous encounter but, more than that, the 22-year-old Russian has struggled over the past 12 months. This time last year she was the No.8 seed at Wimbledon, with a perfect 7-0 record in Tour finals, but big wins have been thin on the ground and she only just managed a seeding this fortnight. A morale-boosting win over Jelena Jankovic at Eastbourne last week suggested an upswing, but she'll have to get past this match first.
More to watch…
French Open champion and fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova kicks off her campaign for another Grand Slam title against Akiko Morigami on Court 2, while sixth seed Jelena Jankovic - still hunting that elusive major - plays Germany's Julia Goerges first up on Court 3. No.17 seed and 2006 champion Amélie Mauresmo takes to the same court at the end of the day against Melinda Czink of Hungary. Ana Ivanovic, who was the top seed 12 months ago and is seeded 13th this year, plays Wimbledon debutante Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic on Court 4. Others in action include No.11 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, No.18 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia, No.19 seed Li Na of China, British No.1 Anne Keothavong and former semifinalist Jelena Dokic.