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Olympics Day 1 Preview

The first round of the Olympics starts on Saturday, with several intriguing matches, including Serena Williams against Jelena Jankovic.

Published July 27, 2012 11:59

Olympics Day 1 Preview
Serena Williams

LONDON, England - The first round of the Olympics gets underway on Saturday, with several intriguing matches, including recent Wimbledon champion Serena Williams' clash against former World No.1 Jelena Jankovic.

Saturday, First Round

Centre Court
[4] Serena Williams (USA #4) vs. Jelena Jankovic (SRB #20)
Head-to-head:
series tied 4-4
Of all the players in the draw, perhaps only Serena Williams' sister, Venus, will have been more happy to see Wimbledon chosen as the Olympics venue for 2012. Williams' record on the hallowed lawns of the All-England Club is second to none - she lifted the title for a fifth time exactly three weeks ago - and although she is No.4 seed, she starts as most people's favorite to lift the title.

Williams has been handed a tricky opener, though. She starts off against Jelena Jankovic, who, despite not enjoying her best season to date, has the potential to cause problems, as shown by her four career wins against Williams. However, despite the American's tendency to take a few rounds to get herself going on the grass, it would be a major shock not to see her stretch her current win streak to 12.

Anne Keothavong (GBR # 76) vs. [8] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #8)
Head-to-head:
Wozniacki leads 1-0
In Saturday's final match on Centre, Caroline Wozniacki gets the chance to banish the memory of her recent Wimbledon nightmare when she takes on home favorite Anne Keothavong. Wozniacki fell at the first hurdle during The Championships, losing a painful three-setter to Tamira Paszek in which she saw two match points slip through her fingers.

Catharsis could come with a deep run at the Olympics, although she will be wary of looking beyond Keothavong. A veteran of 12 Wimbledons, the Briton knows her way around a grass court and, roared on by a partisan home crowd, she can certainly make life difficult for Wozniacki if she makes a bright start.

Court 2
[11] Li Na (CHN #11) vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #33)
Head-to-head:
Hantuchova leads 3-2
In a first round with no shortage of intriguing matches, arguably the pick of the bunch is Li Na against Daniela Hantuchova. In five career meetings between the players, only once has the match failed to go the distance, and Saturday has every chance of going the same way.

Although neither player enjoyed the longest of stays on their last visit to south west London, they are far from grass court novices, with three quarterfinal appearances between them at SW19. They also both possess the type of attacking baseline game to trouble the best on their day, and, spurred on by patriotic fervor and the chance of a medal, the winner could go deep into the draw.

Around the grounds…
Last year's Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova kicks off her gold medal quest against Kateryna Bondarenko, while other notable names in action include Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova and Kim Clijsters.

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