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Wimbledon Tuesday: Serena Set For Opener

Defending champ Serena Williams gets her Wimbledon campaign started, and Maria Kirilenko plays her first Grand Slam match as a Top 10 player.

Published June 24, 2013 12:00

Wimbledon Tuesday: Serena Set For Opener
Serena Williams

LONDON, England - Serena Williams begins her quest for her 17th Grand Slam title and sixth at Wimbledon as those on the top half of the draw play their openers.

Tuesday, First Round
Centre Court
[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Mandy Minella (LUX #92)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Serena Williams has to like her chances for a 51st win in 52 first round Grand Slam matches. In fact, since that lone opening round defeat at the 2012 French Open, she is 74-3 - including 43-2 this year. Williams is also in the midst of a career-best 31-match win streak - one behind Justine Henin for the second-best streak of the new millennium and four behind sister Venus Williams for the best. On top of that, Williams has won three of the past four Grand Slams - one of which was her fifth Wimbledon title last year.

While Williams owns the best grass court win percentage among active players at 88%, opponent Mandy Minella has yet to win a grass court match. Minella has also yet to defeat a Top 30 opponent and has never faced a reigning World No.1. Her semifinal showing at Marrakech earlier this season matched her best WTA result - another semifinal showing at Bad Gastein last year.

Court 1
[10] Maria Kirilenko (RUS #10) vs. Laura Robson (GBR #38)
Head-to-head: first meeting
One win from her 30th of the season, Maria Kirilenko is having a memorable 2013. She won her first WTA title since 2008 in February in Pattaya City, made her first Premier Mandatory semifinal in March at Indian Wells and matched her best Grand Slam outing in June with a quarterfinal appearance at the French Open, after which she made her Top 10 debut. She was also a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year and later in the season was a semifinalist at the Summer Olympics held at the All-England Club.

Since Laura Robson beat Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of Madrid for her third Top 10 win and first against a Top 5 opponent, the Brit has not gone beyond the second round of an event. But Kirilenko should not take her lightly, as the WTA's highest-ranked teen and certain crowd favorite has beaten former Grand Slam champions three times at majors - Kim Clijsters and Li Na at the 2012 US Open and Petra Kvitova at the 2013 Australian Open.

Court 3
[7] Angelique Kerber (GER #7) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA #58)
Head-to-head: Mattek-Sands leads 2-0
Bethanie Mattek-Sands should have confidence in upsetting Angelique Kerber, in that she won both of their previous meetings in straight sets, she is coming off what is tied for her best Grand Slam result in reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros and that her other fourth round outing at a major came at Wimbledon in 2008. Her season has also included her fourth WTA runner-up showing at Kuala Lumpur and a semifinal showing at Stuttgart. Mattek-Sands has four Top 10 wins to her credit, with two having come this year.

Germany's highest ranked player, Kerber matched her best Grand Slam result with a run to the semifinals here last year. Though she has yet to win a title this year, she has been to one final and three semifinals.

Around the grounds…
Last year's Wimbledon runner-up, World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska, takes on Yvonne Meusburger, and former Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki squares off with former Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone.

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