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Wimbledon Thursday: Serena On Schedule

Serena Williams continues her quest for her fifth Wimbledon title, while Sabine Lisicki will square off with an in-form Elena Vesnina.

Published June 26, 2013 12:01

Wimbledon Thursday: Serena On Schedule
Sabine Lisicki

LONDON, England - One of just two of the Top 5 seeds still left, Serena Williams looks to avoid the upset bug that has ravaged the Wimbledon draw when she plays a French qualifier.

Thursday, Second Round
Court 1
[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. [Q] Caroline Garcia (FRA #100)
Head-to-head:
Williams leads 1-0
Any thought that Serena Williams might overlook second round opponent Caroline Garcia went out the window when four former World No.1s exited Wimbledon on Wednesday. After the upsets of Maria Sharapova, Caroline WozniackiAna Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic and the withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka, Williams will surely be extra focused on avoiding their fate.

Garcia achieved her career-best win with her defeat of No.47 Zheng Jie on Tuesday, but in her one previous encounter with Williams in the second round of the French Open last month managed just three games. A victory for Williams would put her career-best win streak at 33 matches, last achieved by Justine Henin across the 2007 and 2008 seasons. A loss to Garcia would be on the scale of her shocking defeat at the hands of another Frenchwoman, No.111 Virginie Razzano, in the first round of the 2012 French Open, which has been followed by 75 wins in her 78 matches since.

Court 2
[23] Sabine Lisicki (GER #24) vs. Elena Vesnina (RUS #22)
Head-to-head:
Lisicki leads 2-1
Sabine Lisicki is the seeded one in her match-up with Elena Vesnina, but is ranked two places below the Russian. That is because Venina's recent rankings rise to No.22, tied for her career-best, came after Wimbledon seedings were released. Vesnina picked up her second title of the season last week on the grass in Eastbourne, in the process knocking off World No.6 Li Na. She kicked off her Wimbledon campaign with her 300th win as a pro over Andrea Hlavackova.

Lisicki has had her greatest success on grass, including a title in Birmingham in 2009, but she is more known for her runs to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2011 and quarterfinals in 2009 and 2012. She had an especially easy time with former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round on Tuesday to improve to 14-4 all-time here. She has come out on top in two of her three match-ups with Vesnina, but this will be the first on grass.

Court 3
[6] Li Na (CHN #6) vs. Simona Halep (ROU #32)
Head-to-head: Halep leads 1-0
Outside of Williams, no one may be in better form recently than Simona Halep. Two weeks ago, she won her first WTA title on clay in Nürnberg, then last week her second on grass in 's-Hertogenbosch. Dating back to qualifying in Rome, where she reached her first Premier-level semifinal, she has now won 17 of her last 19 matches - including 11 straight. The most recent of those was a three set victory over Olga Govortsova in the first round here. On top of that, she has beaten second round foe Li Na at a Grand Slam before, getting the best of her in the first round of the 2011 US Open for one of her two wins over Top 10 opponents.

The first several months of Li's season went superbly, with achievements including a title in Shenzhen and runner-up showings at the Australian Open and Stuttgart. And though she has not been beyond a quarterfinal since April, she can be dangerous on grass, as evidenced by her 2010 title in Birmingham and quarterfinal showings at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2010. She appeared in especially good form in dropping just two games to Michaella Krajicek in her first round earlier this week.

Around the grounds…
Last year's runner-up, Agnieszka Radwanska, crowd favorite Laura Robson and rising American teen Madison Keys will all be on court.

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