Olympics Day 4 Preview
Published July 30, 2012 11:59
LONDON, England - Day 4 at the Olympic Tennis Event is dominated by two Anglo-Russian encounters on the show courts, as the two Marias, Sharapova and Kirilenko, take on young pretenders, Laura Robson and Heather Watson.
Tuesday, Second Round
Laura Robson (GBR #98) vs.  Maria Sharapova (RUS #3)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 1-0
A little over 12 months ago, Maria Sharapova met a fresh-faced Laura Robson in the first round of Wimbledon. That day, Robson gave a good account of herself before ultimately going down in straight sets. The two cross paths again on Tuesday, and while the 18-year-old Briton may be just as fresh faced she is now battle hardened as well.
And that is just as well, because she is coming up against arguably the WTA's toughest competitor. Driving this competitive streak is an insatiable thirst for success, and after a surprisingly premature exit at Wimbledon, Sharapova is parched. However, Robson, who delivered a performance of remarkable maturity to see off Lucie Safarova in the first round, will not be rolling over and certainly has the power to ask the World No.3 a question or two.
 Maria Kirilenko (RUS #15) vs. Heather Watson (GBR #69)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Several hundred yards away over on Court 1 another Britain versus Russia encounter will be unfolding as Maria Kirilenko takes on the fast-improving Heather Watson. While Sharapova against Robson may be all about ferocious forehands and booming backhands, Kirilenko and Watson are likely to engage in a more cerebral affair.
In a match that pits two of the best athletes on tour against one another, both will need to maximize the dimensions of the court to outmaneuver their lightning-quick foe. Kirilenko proved adept at doing just that during a run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals several weeks ago and, while she will be buoyed by the patriotic crowd, Watson will need a career-best performance if she is to notch up a first Top 20 win.
Varvara Lepchenko (USA #40) vs. Julia Goerges (GER #24)
Head-to-head: Lepchenko leads 2-0
When Julia Goerges saw she had been paired with No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round, a small part of her mind may have been thinking this was not going to be her Olympics. The same thought probably raced through her mind when she trailed 3-1 in the third set of that match. Luckily for Goerges, the rest of her body disagreed.
And now past that first hurdle, the big-serving German will be eyeing the draw with relish. But before she can look too far ahead she must first get past Varvara Lepchenko. And this is far from a foregone conclusion. Indeed, Lepchenko has won both of their previous meetings, most recently in Doha this February, and in her first Olympics is just as hungry as Goerges for success.
Around the grounds…
World No.1 Victoria Azarenka follows Kirilenko and Watson on court as she continues her quest for gold against María José Martínez Sánchez, while other medal prospects in action include Venus Williams, Sabine Lisicki, Angelique Kerber and Nadia Petrova.