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Wimbledon: Day 7 Preview

A couple of blockbusters highlight Monday's fourth round action at the All England Club.

Published June 28, 2010 12:00

Wimbledon: Day 7 Preview
Li Na

LONDON, United Kingdom - An all-Belgium blockbuster is on the fourth round agenda on Monday, but the dish of the day is a Centre Court showdown between two former champions.

Centre Court
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [16] Maria Sharapova (RUS #17)
Williams leads 5-2
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Williams (3-0/55-8)… Sharapova (7-1/59-11)
The last time these two met on grass was six years ago, when Sharapova prevailed in the final. The still-only-23-year-old Russian has been gaining momentum all week, but will have to do everything at her very best to dint the defending champion this time around. Though she professed to be annoyed by just about everything but her serve, Serena (ace count so far at Wimbledon: 44) was in scorching form against Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday. Indeed, rarely has she looked so good from the very start of a major. Both superstars say they don't mind bumping into each other this early in the tournament, but both would mind leaving so soon very much. With luck that will produce a classic.

No.1 Court
[8] Kim Clijsters (BEL #8) vs. [17] Justine Henin (BEL #16)
Tied at 12-12
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Clijsters (5-1/45-12)… Henin (8-0/53-10)
If this match is half as good as the final of the Brisbane International played by these two in January, then fans are in for a treat. On that occasion Clijsters edged her compatriot, who was playing the first event of her comeback, and she also won another three set thriller at Miami in the spring. Both matches were, of course, hardcourt encounters - but it is Henin who holds a 3-1 advantage on grass. Whether or not that pre-retirement stat means much, remains to be seen: Clijsters' power and athleticism should give her an extra boost on the green stuff, but Henin has already shown her touch and variety is up to the challenge. She's also won their last five Grand Slam meetings. Does that suggest a mental edge?

Court 18
[9] Li Na (CHN #12) vs. [7] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #9)
Radwanska leads 2-1
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Li (8-1/28-13)… Radwanska 3-1/24-8)
She might have grown up in Krakow, where grass courts are non-existent, but Radwanska's remarkably consistent record on the surface proves a genuine affinity for the green stuff. The former Wimbledon junior champion is now gunning for a third consecutive quarterfinal here, and indeed has never lost to a player seeded outside the Top 6 at The Championships. The 21-year-old beat Li in the third round here last year, in two tight sets. But Li is riding high, winning the lead-up at Birmingham and playing relatively free of injury and ailment. She's the more powerful of the two, but will need to keep errors low against one of the most 'stingy' players on Tour.

More to watch: Jarmila Groth, through to the fourth round at a second consecutive major, faces No.2 seed Venus Williams on Court 2; they are followed by third seed Caroline Wozniacki against Czech lefty Petra Kvitova. Court 5 plays host to No.11 seed Marion Bartoli versus Tsvetana Pironkova, and qualifier Kaia Kanepi versus Klara Zakopalova. Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic and No.21 seed Vera Zvonareva face off on Court 12.

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