Wimbledon Day 8 Preview
Published June 30, 2012 07:09
LONDON, England - The second Monday of Wimbledon sees all 16 players remaining in the singles draw take to the court. Highlights on what could be a drama-filled day include a rematch of last year's semifinal between Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki and Kim Clijsters against the high-flying Angelique Kerber.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #14) vs.  Victoria Azarenka (BLR #2)
Head-to-head: tied 2-2
After a few years spent searching in vain for the form which once took her to the pinnacle of the game, Ana Ivanovic finally seems to have turned a corner. The improvement has been steady rather than spectacular, but the supremely gifted Serb finally looks ready to compete for the biggest prizes again.
Since winning the French Open in 2008, Ivanovic has never been beyond the fourth round at a major, and if this statistic is to be altered, she will have to do something that only four other players have achieved in 2012: defeat Victoria Azarenka. With four titles and 41 wins, Azarenka has enjoyed a spectacular six months and has shown no signs of slowing down at the All-England Club; three straight set wins have seen her ease into the last 16 here for the third time and Ivanovic will have to be at her very best to stop her going further.
 Maria Sharapova (RUS #1) vs.  Sabine Lisicki (GER #15)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-0
Three times Sabine Lisicki has tried to get the better of Maria Sharapova and three times she has come up short. Yet with each match Lisicki is getting closer to the winning line, and in their most recent encounter, in the fourth round of this year's Australian Open, gave Sharapova all she could handle before coming up short in three.
Lisicki certainly has the power on the serve and from the back of the court to challenge Sharapova. However, the World No.1 is in possession of just as devastating an arsenal of weapons, and in addition to this is currently empowered with the great intangible: confidence. Having triumphed in 21 of her last 22 matches, Sharapova has almost forgotten what losing feels like and Lisicki will face an uphill battle to reacquaint her with the sensation.
Kim Clijsters (BEL #47) vs.  Angelique Kerber (GER #8)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Kim Clijsters is certainly not hanging about to take in the scenery during her final visit to the All-England Club. In her three matches so far the two-time former semifinalist is yet to drop a set - no mean feat considering her opposition included a former World No.1 and the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up.
Keeping this unblemished record intact, though, will take some doing. Angelique Kerber, her next foe, has been one of the standout players on tour this year, picking up two titles and winning more matches than any other player. Victory number 43 came at the expense of just five games against Christina McHale in the third round and a similarly devastating performance on Monday could spell an end to Clijsters' final stay in SW19.
Around the grounds…
The remaining five last 16 encounters see last year's winner Petra Kvitova take on Francesca Schiavone, four-time champion Serena Williams face Yaroslava Shvedova, Maria Kirilenko against Peng Shuai, while Italians Camila Giorgi and Roberta Vinci do battle with Agnieszka Radwanska and Tamira Paszek respectively.