Wimbledon Day 1 Preview
Published June 23, 2012 11:18
LONDON, England - First round action gets underway at the All-England Club on Monday with several mouthwatering matches, including one of last year's semifinalist and two of the draw's dangerous floaters.
Monday, First Round
Kim Clijsters (BEL #47) vs.  Jelena Jankovic (SRB #21)
Head-to-head: Clijsters leads 7-1
When the Wimbledon draw was made last Friday, it is fair to say that most of the seeds had one eye on where Kim Clijsters would end up. The four-time major winner may be ranked at a lowly No.47 in the world after an injury-ravaged 12 months, but, as proved last week in 's-Hertogenbosch, she still packs a punch on grass.
Drawing the short straw was Jelena Jankovic. Like Clijsters, the Serb has enjoyed success in her pre-Wimbledon tune-up events, finishing runner-up in Birmingham, and if she can clear this daunting first hurdle has a fair chance of reaching the fourth round for the fifth time. That's a big if, though; she has lost seven of the pair's eight previous meetings and, despite her higher ranking, will start as the underdog.
Elena Vesnina (RUS #79) vs. Venus Williams (USA #58)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Clijsters was not the only short straw on offer on Friday. The other came in the shape of five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams. Despite her ongoing battle with the autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome, Williams' performances over the past few months have been one of the feel-good stories of the season.
Having missed the best part of seven months due to Sjögren's, Williams returned in Miami, embarking upon a dramatic run to the quarterfinals, before doing the same in both Charleston and Rome. Now she returns to her beloved grass hoping to go even further. Her first test comes against the dangerous Elena Vesnina. With an aggressive all-court game, Vesnina has the potential to cause problems on grass and, as displayed during a fourth round run a few years back, is no stranger to an upset.
Petra Martic (CRO #45) vs.  Sabine Lisicki (GER #15)
Head-to-head: Lisicki leads 2-0
Last year, Sabine Lisicki arrived in SW19 with a wildcard, no pressure and confidence to burn from a title run in Birmingham. This potent cocktail took her all the way to a maiden Grand Slam semifinal before she finally ran out of gas against Maria Sharapova.
Can she repeat the trick? While her big groundstrokes and even bigger serve make her a danger once more, she enters this year's tournament short of the vital ingredients of form and confidence, having won just two of her last seven matches in an injury-interrupted season. Meanwhile, her first round opponent, Petra Martic, is currently in the form of her life, and after taking out two seeds en route to the fourth round at Roland Garros she is more than capable of another shock on the opening Monday of The Championships.
Around the grounds…
World No.1 Maria Sharapova kicks off her quest for back-to-back majors against Anastasia Rodionova, while other seeds in action include Agnieszka Radwanska, Samantha Stosur and Angelique Kerber.