Wimbledon: Day 7 Preview
Published June 28, 2009 06:38
LONDON, UK - For the third time since 2003, Russia has sent at least four women into the last 16 at Wimbledon, while for the third straight year, three Americans are also through - one of them as a huge surprise. Put another way, the round of 16 line-up features three former champions and a qualifier, all gunning for prized slots in the quarterfinals.
 Dinara Safina (RUS) vs.  Amélie Mauresmo (FRA)
Mauresmo leads 4-2
This match marks the first meeting on grass between the current and former world No.1s - and indeed the first since the 2006 US Open, when Mauresmo was at the top of the rankings. That was, of course, the year the Frenchwoman lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish but she hasn't been to the last eight at the All England Club since. Set to turn 30 next week, this year she has enjoyed a renaissance, though, winning the Paris [Indoors] title and saving France from Federation Cup relegation in fine style. Needless to say she boasts the perfect game for grass and at this stage in her career should feel she has nothing to lose today. The pressure will be on Safina: along with Serena Williams the Russian is one of just two women who've reached the fourth round or better at the first three Slams of the year, but is chasing a maiden major to frank her No.1 status.
 Venus Williams (USA) vs.  Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
V.Williams leads 5-1
Having pocketed a Grand Slam each in 2008, who'd have thought both players would still be looking for their Grand Slam quarterfinal of the year at Wimbledon this week? But no matter: this promises to be one of the slugfests of the tournament. Ivanovic hasn't been in a Tour quarterfinal since finishing runner-up at Indian Wells in March, but after surviving match point against Lucie Hradecka in the first round she has found her footing nicely, beating Samantha Stosur in comprehensive fashion in the third round. For her part, Venus has now won 29 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, stretching back to third round win over Akiko Morigami in 2007. The 29-year-old five-time Wimbledon champion has to be considered the favorite today, but if Ivanovic is at her best then the match could well go the distance.
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) vs.  Serena Williams (USA)
S.Williams leads 6-1
This is the third time these two have played on grass, and each time the All England Club has been the venue. In fact, the last time they met was in the same round here two years ago, when an injured Serena looked as though she would be unable to finish the match, only to find Hantuchova was unable to go in for the kill. Hantuchova sometimes starts too well for her own good against higher-ranked players, tensing up as the finish line draws near, so her best bet today could be a close match with last minute opportunities. She has been playing close to her all-court best this week, and Serena has praised the 26-year-old Slovak's 'smooth' playing style. But the 10-time Grand Slam champion also knows how to break it up.
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Sabine Lisicki (GER)
Tied at 1-1
A repeat of the final at Charleston in April, this match is an exciting proposition for women's tennis, because whoever wins, one of the Tour's brightest young stars will be through to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Wozniacki, 18, is already making history as the first Danish player, man or woman, to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open era. And Lisicki, 19, may well be playing her last Grand Slam as a non-seed, if her current trajectory continues. The 19-year-old German has one of the most powerful serves in the business, and given she beat Venus as well as Wozniacki at Charleston, and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round here, she obviously has the mental ability to mix it with the big girls. She might even have the edge today because the pressure rests on Wozniacki's shoulders.
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs. [Q] Melanie Oudin (USA)
Tied at 1-1
World No.124 Oudin has been setting records this week, and after her third round dispatch of sixth seed Jelena Jankovic, there's every reason to believe she can keep it coming. The first qualifier into the last 16 at Wimbledon since Severine Beltrame Bremond reached the quarters in 2006, the 17-year-old is the first American teenager apart from Venus or Serena to go this far at Wimbledon since 18-year-old Alexandra Stevenson reached the semifinals in 1999. She is also the youngest American to reach the fourth round at any Grand Slam since 17-year-old Serena won the US Open in 1999. Radwanska's 2009 season hasn't been as good as 2008, but the young Pole has nonetheless made quiet progress into the fourth round here for the third time in her career. Her game works well on grass, but she could be forgiven for hoping Oudin suffers a bit of a letdown.
More to watch…
In a re-match from the final at Auckland at the start of the season, fourth seed Elena Dementieva, who has now won 38 of her last 39 matches against unseeded players at Grand Slams, plays fellow Russian Elena Vesnina, conqueror of Dominika Cibulkova, first up on Court 2. Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka, trying to become the first woman from Belarus into the quarters since Natasha Zvereva in1998, and tenth seed Nadia Petrova open proceedings on Court 3, while No.26 seed Virginie Razzano and Italy's Francesca Schiavone follow Radwanska and Oudin on Court 18. In the doubles, top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber play Cazech duo Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Court 5, after second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual tackle Alla Kudryavtseva and Monica Niculescu.