Olympics Day 5 Preview
Published July 31, 2012 11:59
LONDON, England - A mouthwatering Day 5 at the Olympic Tennis Event features no shortage in quality matchups on both the show and outside courts, including Victoria Azarenka against Nadia Petrova and a repeat of the recent Wimbledon fourth round between Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki.
Wednesday, Third Round
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs.  Nadia Petrova (RUS #23)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 3-2
Victoria Azarenka and Nadia Petrova have met five times in their careers, and, remarkably, three of these have come at the All-England Club. The edge here, as in the overall head-to-head, is held by Azarenka, and after her stellar year and recent Wimbledon semifinal appearance, rightfully starts as favorite to extend this advantage.
Former World No.3 Petrova, though, will certainly be no pushover; on form, the Russian has a game to rival any of the top players, with her superb serve making her particularly dangerous on grass. Contrastingly, Azarenka is one of the WTA's best returners and how she performs in this department is likely to have a significant bearing on the outcome.
 Sabine Lisicki (GER #20) vs.  Maria Sharapova (RUS #3)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-1
Apparently, revenge is a dish best served cold. On Wednesday, Maria Sharapova gets the chance to serve it up piping hot. Just four weeks after her surprise exit at the hands of Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon, Sharapova returns to the scene looking to put the record straight.
However, in Lisicki, Sharapova faces one of the few players on tour with power to rival her own and, with a serve that regularly clocks in excess of 120mph, the capability to make her superb return game redundant at times. Nevertheless, the Russian, appearing in her first Olympics, does know how to beat Lisicki, having triumphed in their first three meetings, and will be further buoyed by Lisicki's stuttering early performances, dropping sets to both Ons Jabeur and Yaroslava Shvedova.
Venus Williams (USA #72) vs.  Angelique Kerber (GER #7)
Head-to-head: series tied 1-1
She may be the lowest-ranked player left in the tournament by some 30-odd places, but Venus Williams has arguably been the standout performer in the opening two rounds. Competing in her fourth Olympics, Williams displayed all of her grass court expertise in two resounding straight set victories over No.9 seed Sara Errani and then Aleksandra Wozniak.
Next up is Angelique Kerber, who will undoubtedly give her a much sterner examination. Indeed, Williams found out just how tough it is on court with Kerber earlier this year, when she was comfortably beaten on the clay in Madrid. And the German is no slouch on grass either, with 11 of her WTA-leading 47 wins in 2012 coming on the surface.
Around the grounds…
On Centre Court, Serena Williams continues on her mission to capture that elusive Olympic singles gold medal when she takes on Vera Zvonareva. Following these two will be Caroline Wozniacki against Daniela Hantuchova, while on the outside courts, Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova and Maria Kirilenko are in action against Ana Ivanovic, Flavia Pennetta and Julia Goerges.