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US Open Day 4 Preview

Before Li Na stole the headlines, Zheng Jie was the queen of Chinese tennis. Can she keep waving the flag against Andrea Petkovic?

Published August 31, 2011 06:59

US Open Day 4 Preview
Zheng Jie

Thursday, Second Round

Louis Armstrong
[11] Jelena Jankovic (SRB #12) vs. Jelena Dokic (AUS #73)
Head-to-Head:
Dokic leads 1-0
Entering the US Open, Jankovic had lost her opening match in three of four tournaments. But amidst all that she made a great run to the final at Cincinnati, going down to Sharapova in a match that lasted almost three hours. That was more like the JJ who made it to final here at Flushing Meadows in 2008, but can she keep it up? Dokic, who won the junior title in 1998 but is playing just her second US Open main draw in seven years, has also had an up and down season: In February, the 28-year-old won her first title since 2002 at Kuala Lumpur, and in June she made another final at 's-Hertogenbosch. However, after Wimbledon the former world No.4 was sidelined by hamstring and shoulder problems. The last match between these two was back in 2003, Dokic winning via retirement. On paper Jankovic should prove the more durable this time, but she'll have to survive some classic baseline duels.

Grandstand
[10] Andrea Petkovic (GER #11) vs. Zheng Jie (CHN #78)
Head-to
-Head: First meeting
Entering the US Open, Petkovic had 45 wins this year, joint-second on the WTA (with Zvonareva and Bartoli) behind Wozniacki (53 wins). This figure was helped by a strong US Open Series, with semifinal showings at Carlsbad and Cincinnati and a quarterfinal run at Toronto. For one week in August she was also the first German to rank inside the Top 10 since 2000. The only real lowlight was a knee injury scare at Cincy, and indeed she'll need to be fighting fit against one of the craftiest players around. Zheng, 28, underwent wrist surgery after last year's US Open, and has won back-to-back matches just twice since returning in February. But she's a Top 15 caliber player, as her 17-41 lifetime record against Top 15 players attests. Petkovic has the power to prevail, but Zheng is also more than capable of adding the German's name to the list of early exits.

[23] Shahar Peer (ISR #24) vs. [WC] Sloane Stephens (USA #106)
Head-to-Head:
First meeting
With Madison Keys and Laura Robson dispatched from the second round on Wednesday, Stephens is gunning to become the youngest player through to the third round. While her first round win was just her eighth main draw victory at tour level, and the disparity in rankings suggest she has a mountain to climb against Peer, the 18-year-old has a quarterfinal run at Carlsbad behind her (and the experience of beating Top 20 player Julia Goerges along the way). For her part Peer, a quarterfinalist here in 2007, arrived in North America on a five match losing streak but turned things around by reaching the final at the new event in College Park. A gutsy first round defeat of Sania Mirza - a player she'd fallen to four times in a row in main draw matches - augurs well for the Israeli who was just one match away from cracking the Top 10 just a few months ago.

More to watch…
Francesca Schiavone, the No.7 seed, is first on Arthur Ashe against Mirjana Lucic... Later, Serena Williams returns to the main stage to tackle Michaella Krajicek, while Caroline Wozniacki faces Arantxa Rus under the lights... Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka plays Gisela Dulko (who leads their head-to-head 3-2) on Louis Armstrong... Ana Ivanovic, the No.16 seed, faces the opponent who upset her at Wimbledon, in-form New Haven finalist Petra Cetkovska on Court 17, which is where Vania King of the US takes on Jarmila Gajdosova, the No.29 seed... Svetlana Kuznetsova, the champion in 2004 and No.15 seed this year, goes up against Elena Baltacha on Court 11.

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