Wimbledon Day 4 Preview

Li Na faces a resurgent Sabine Lisicki on Centre Court on Thursday. Will she remain on track for a third major final in a row?

Published June 22, 2011 09:26

Wimbledon Day 4 Preview
Elena Baltacha

Thursday, Second Round

Centre Court
[3] Li Na (CHN #4) vs. [WC] Sabine Lisicki (GER #62)
Head-to-Head: Lisicki leads 1-0
Lisicki lost the first four grass court matches of her career but has since won 11 of her 12 matches on the surface, reaching the quarters here two years ago, winning Birmingham two weeks ago and defeating Anastasija Sevastova in the first round this week. Indeed, the 21-year-old has put together a remarkable run of late, considering she was sidelined by an ankle injury for five months in 2010, and has also been dealing with gluten intolerance issues. Before Miami she was outside the Top 200, but after her emotional triumph at the AEGON Classic she is back well inside the Top 100, and showing the kind of form that had her knocking on the door of the Top 20 in 2009. This resurgence has included a win over Li at Stuttgart in May, and today she promises to test the French Open champion's Wimbledon prospects to the limit.

No.1 Court
[WC] Laura Robson (GBR #254) vs. [5] Maria Sharapova (RUS #6)
Head-to-Head: First meeting
For the second major in a row, Sharapova has drawn a local 17-year-old wildcard in the second round; no doubt she'll be hoping for an easier time today than her outing in Paris, where she trailed Caroline Garcia by a set and 4-1. The junior champion here in 2008, Robson's first round defeat of Angelique Kerber marked her first Grand Slam main draw win, and just her second victory at WTA level; the home fans will do their best to boost the youngster, but given the gulf in experience, she faces a big task against a player some consider the title frontrunner this fortnight. Sharapova has, in fact, fallen in the second round at the All England Club in two of the last three years; while another upset seems unlikely, Robson's lefty game has the potential to give the Russian plenty to think about.

No.2 Court
Elena Baltacha (GBR #68) vs. [20] Peng Shuai (CHN #20)
Head-to-Head: Peng leads 1-0
Peng missed Wimbledon last year due to illness, one of the low points in a season riddled by injury and various ailments. But in 2011 she has been a revelation, reaching the final at Brussels, as well as two semis and three quarterfinals, building a 40-15 record coming into this match (and rising more than 50 ranking places). Playing with two hands off both sides, her game adapts neatly to grass, but the newest member of the Top 20 will need to be at her sharpest against feisty Baltacha today. On the health front Baltacha has endured more than most, but at the age of 27 has established herself as a strong national No.1. While she won't go into this match as favorite, she will rightly see this as an opportunity to make a splash at her home Slam.

More to watch…
Serena Williams, seeded No.7, plays young Romanian Simona Halep first up on No.2 Court. Later, top seed Caroline Wozniacki plays Virginie Razzano on the same stage. Sixth seed Francesca Schiavone tackles Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Court 3, where ninth seeded Marion Bartoli will face Lourdes Domínguez Lino. Ana Ivanovic, seeded 18th, plays tricky Greek wildcard Eleni Daniilidou on Court 12. Jarmila Gajdosova, the No.28 seed, plays Andrea Hlavackova on Court 16.

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