Rome Wednesday: Can Vika Bounce Back?
Published May 14, 2013 12:00
ROME, Italy - Victoria Azarenka kicks off her Internazionali BNL d'Italia challenge on Wednesday against Julia Goerges, also in action at the Foro Italico are Li Na and Jelena Jankovic, who take on compatriots Zheng Jie and Bojana Jovanovski.
Wednesday, Second Round
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #3) vs. Julia Goerges (GER #25)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 4-1
How will Victoria Azarenka respond to her early exit in Madrid? The answer will be revealed on Wednesday night when the World No.3, who lost her 2013 unbeaten record in the Spanish capital, takes on the mercurial Julia Goerges.
Despite slipping out of the Top 20 in February, Goerges' athleticism and ball striking makes her a tricky proposition on the clay - illustrated by her victory in Stuttgart two years ago. The German is also no stranger to upsets and has nine Top 10 wins - two over World No.1s - to her name. Unfortunately for Goerges, Azarenka has lost back to back matches on only one occasion in the past two seasons - with one of those coming by way of retirement - and to make matters worse she has won the pair's last four meetings in straight sets.
 Li Na (CHN #5) vs. Zheng Jie (CHN #50)
Head-to-head: Zheng leads 4-1
As Asia's first Grand Slam singles champion and resident Chinese No.1, Li Na's shadow looms large over tennis in her homeland. But while it is Li's face that fronts the Nike advertising campaigns and adorns the billboards, she is not the only player to have helped put Chinese tennis on the map.
In fact, Li's second round opponent in Rome, Zheng Jie, was the first Chinese player to lift a Grand Slam title, when she partnered Yan Zi to the doubles titles at the Australian Open in 2006. While she has struggled in 2013, she is no stranger to success in singles either, picking up four singles titles. Intriguingly, she has also won four of her five meetings with Li, albeit with the most recent of these coming seven years ago.
Jelena Jankovic (SRB #18) vs. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB #48)
Head-to-head: series tied 1-1
After Ana Ivanovic's surprise early exit, Serbia's No.2 and No.3 players are left flying the flag in Rome. Unfortunately for the country's tennis fans, Jelena Jankovic and Bojana Jovanovski have been drawn against one another in the second round.
Both players impressed in clearing the first hurdle; Jankovic dropped just three games against Tsvetana Pironkova, while Jovanovski scored one of the biggest wins of her career, getting the better of Caroline Wozniacki over three absorbing sets. This was Jovanovski's first win since a breakthrough fourth round run at the Australian Open earlier this year, and she will need to maintain this level against her compatriot, whose speed and consistency from the back of the court make her a menace on the dirt.
Around the grounds...
Maria Sharapova starts the defense of her title against the ever-improving Garbiñe Muguruza, elsewhere Sara Errani, Samantha Stosur and Maria Kirilenko are all looking to book third round spots.