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Ana Confonts Her Nemesis

Diminutive Zheng Jie toppled Ana Ivanovic the last two times they played. Is the Serb ready to turn the tables?

Published August 31, 2010 12:00

Ana Confonts Her Nemesis
Zheng Jie

NEW YORK, NY, USA - The second round gets underway at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday, and while the start to collide just yet, many of them must face classy opponents who only narrowly missed the cut.

Arthur Ashe
[21] Zheng Jie (CHN) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
H2H: Zheng leads 2-1
Crafty Zheng gave Ivanovic all sorts of grief during the tricky period just after the Serb won the French Open in 2008. Stationed at No.133 when they met in the third round at Wimbledon, she became the third-lowest ranked player to defeat a reigning world No.1; then at Beijing later in the year she prevailed in a closer three-set match. Two years on the pocket dynamo still possesses the goods to unsettle the more powerful Ivanovic, who should view this match as a good gauge of where she's at since Zheng doesn't give anything away. Ivanovic gave her legion fans cause for cheer with her semifinal run at Cincinnati and, back in the Top 40, is already gaining ranking points by reaching the second round. The left foot injury that caused her retirement at Cincy doesn't seem to be an issue, so maybe she's poised to build on that momentum.

Louis Armstrong
[29] Alona Bondarenko (UKR) vs. Melanie Oudin (USA)
H2H: First meeting

Props to Oudin who, with a difficult hardcourt swing behind her, and with all the baggage of last year's quarterfinal heroics hanging over her, dealt superbly with the pressure of opening the tournament on Ashe on Monday. With her 63 60 defeat of Olga Savchuk the almost 19-year-old snapped a four match losing streak to reignite hopes of another dream run in the Big Apple. For her part, recently-married Bondarenko was characteristically streaky against Vera Dushevina, dishing out a bagel in the first set before eventually bringing it home in three. Still, 26-year-old Mrs Dyachok has had a good year at the majors, reaching at least the third round at the three played so far. This match is very winnable on both sides but if Oudin can stay steady and steely, home-Slam motivation might make the winning difference.

Grandstand
[10] Victoria Azarenka (BLR #11) vs. Gisela Dulko (ARG #41)
H2H: Tied 2-2

The fact that this is this pair's first meeting on a surface other than clay should be music to Azarenka, who was clobbered by the Argentine at Roland Garros. With the most wins against Top 10 rivals this season - she is 6-3 against the elite - as well as the Stanford title under her belt, the 21-year-old Belarusian is by rights a contender in Queens. Dulko, meanwhile, has enjoyed her best successes of late in doubles, winning five titles this year with Pennetta, with whom she enjoys the top seeding here this fortnight. Though Dulko won just a sole match during the hardcourt lead-ups, she made the round of 16 here last year and her capacity to spring a surprise won't be lost on her opponent, who can refer to a victim list that includes Henin (2010 Indian Wells), Ivanovic (2010 Australian Open) and Sharapova (2009 Wimbledon).

More to watch…
Venus Williams plays Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino on Arthur Ashe in the afternoon, while Kim Clijsters takes on Australian qualifier Sally Peers - whose mother, Elizabeth Little, also played the Open - at night. Meeting at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row, Daniela Hantuchova and Vania King feature on Louis Armstrong. No.19 seed Flavia Pennetta and Hungary's Agnes Szavay resume their close rivalry on Court 4, while an all-Aussie affair sees fifth seed Sam Stosur face new Fed Cup teammate Anastasia Rodionova on Court 11. Also playing on Court 11, Elena Dementieva's opponent is Sybille Bammer, who beat her here in 2007.

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