Wimbledon 2011: The Most Intriguing Matchups for Day 2 at the Championships
At the Wimbledon Tournament on Monday, rain interrupted action, postponing several matches until Tuesday at all locations except Centre Court.
In 2009, a retractable roof was installed over the main court at Wimbledon for just such an occasion, ensuring that the top seeds would be able to complete their matches when scheduled.
While Francesca Schiavone was struggling in her match with Jelena Dokic, rain interrupted action on Centre Court as fans and players took cover. Tournament officials decided to close the roof after a short delay.
Action resumed on the main court, but not elsewhere on the grounds of the All England Club. Therefore, some matches will be rescheduled for Tuesday.
While we expect Roger Federer to get past Mikhail Kukushkin, Novak Djokovic to dispatch Jeremy Chardy and Caroline Wozniacki to overcome Arantxa Parra Santonja––there are several matches scheduled on Tuesday where the outcome is in doubt.
Following are 10 of the most intriguing of the matchups scheduled for action on Tuesday at the All England Club.
John Isner USA vs. Nicholas Mahut FRA
It must be seen as some gigantic joke to the players.
But you know what they say about sequels? They are never as good as the originals. A case in point––Jaws 3!
Everybody prays that is the case in this first-round matchup on Tuesday as John Isner once again faces Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in their second installment.
No doubt, the world will be tuning in to watch the rematch between Isner and Mahut as action gets underway at the All England Club.
You can rest assured that these two guys will not be looking to repeat their drama from 2010 when they staged the longest match ever in the storied history of Wimbledon. The match lasted for 11 hours and five minutes, played over three separate days. It became the talk of the sporting world.
John Isner finally won it 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68.
This year, Isner in four.
Aravane Rezai FRA vs. Serena Williams USA (7)
Serena Williams will turn 30 in September. The former World No. 1 in women’s tennis has been missing since last year’s Wimbledon final, after cutting her foot on glass, requiring surgery.
Both Williams sisters have been ill or injured for the better part of a year.
Serena Williams will have to hope that her awesome serve makes an appearance in her first-round matchup with Aravane Rezai of France. So far, Williams’ serve is still missing in action.
Because of an almost year-long layoff, the defending champion, winner of four Wimbledon titles, has little or no match play preparation coming into this year’s Wimbledon Championship.
Currently ranked No. 52, Rezai, who was a top 20 player in 2010, has not been playing well of late. Her tennis career is in a definite slump.
The Frenchwoman should present few problems to the younger Williams sister regardless of Serena’s potential lack of service winners.
Serena Williams wins in three.
Robin Soderling SWE (5) v Philipp Petzschner GER
Robin Soderling and Philipp Petzschner have met twice in their careers with Soderling leading 2-0. In 2008, the two met on grass at Halle with Soderling prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
More recently they met in Miami where the Swede came out on top 6-1, 6-2.
Soderling remains firmly fixed on winning at Wimbledon. In his last four trips to the All England Club, Soderling has lost to either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
With his flat serve and aggressive style of play, Soderling has the game to succeed on grass.
Although the Swede failed to get past Nadal in the semifinals of the French Open, expect Soderling to make his mark in this tournament.
That is, of course, assuming he can get by Petzschner in this opener. After the German’s retirement with a back injury in the final at Halle, Petzschner may not be a full strength.
Pick Soderling in four.
Sabine Lisicki GER vs. Anastasija Sevastova LAT
The big serving German, Sabine Lisicki, will be fascinating to watch during the Wimbledon Championships.
With a nickname of “Boom Boom Bine” after her famous German countryman Boris Becker, Lisicki has been blasting people off the court of late.
No surface is better suited to her big serving game than grass. At age 21, Lisicki is coming into Wimbledon healthy. The German made her first grand slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon in 2009.
After winning in Birmingham this year, Lisicki is filled with confidence. This is far better than she felt during the French Open a month ago when Lisicki had to be carried off court on a stretcher.
This was during the second round after cramps ended her mammoth effort to close out the match against world No. 3 Vera Zvonareva.
Ranked No. 54 in the world, Anastasija Sevastova made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing to the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki.
The Latvian was eliminated in the first round of Eastbourne earlier this month, losing to Petra Kvitova. Lisicki and Sevastova, who is higher ranked than the German, have never met on court.
Even so, you must respect the awesome serving potential of Lisicki.
Lisicki wins in two.
Kei Nishikori JPN vs. Lleyton Hewitt AUS
Kei Nishikori of Japan is hoping for a great match on Tuesday against the former World No. 1 and former Wimbledon champion, Lleyton Hewitt.
In both previous appearances at Wimbledon, Nishikori has not advanced beyond the first round.
But the man from Japan has improved his game, watching his ranking rise to World No. 52. Nishikori eagerly awaits his more seasoned opponent in the opener on Tuesday.
Lleyton Hewitt has been battling injuries for the greater part of the past year. His ranking has plummeted to No. 130.
In fact, in preparation for Wimbledon the Aussie entered but had to retire in the first round of the AEGON International at Eastbourne.
The remarkable spirit of Hewitt, however, never allows him to quit. His experience playing and winning on grass would normally be enough to get Hewitt past this higher ranked player.
But you have to worry about his conditioning. On the other hand, Nishikori can run forever.
Nishikori in five.
Anna Chakvetadze RUS vs. Maria Sharapova RUS (5)
Maria Sharapova is the favorite to win Wimbledon in 2011 after her brilliant run at this year’s French Open.
Sharapova served well and moved well on the red clay. The former Wimbledon champion is 6-0 against Anna Chakvetadze in her career. What is more, Sharapova feels the need to win against fellow Russians.
The long-legged Russian is an unbelievable competitor with a single mindset––winning. Now that she is playing great tennis again, she will be difficult to defeat. Sharapova has won this tournament before, and playing on the grass really suits her game.
By the same token, Chakvetadze’s career has sputtered and her ranking has sunk to No. 50 in the world. In 2007 she was No. 5 in the world, but Chakvetadze has never been able to recapture that magic.
Chakvetadze’s best result at Wimbledon occurred in 2008 when she reached the fourth round. She would be hard-pressed to accomplish that again in 2011.
Sharapova wins in straight sets.
Marcos Baghdatis CYP vs. James Blake USA
Marcos Baghdatis and James Blake, two of the men on tour with much fan appeal, meet in this opening-round contest on Tuesday for the right to advance to the second round.
The two met once before in Rotterdam in 2010 with Baghdatis winning the match 6-4, 6-2.
James Blake, formerly ranked in the men’s top 10, now finds himself outside the game, looking in.
Luckily he received a late entry into the men’s draw at the All England Club where the American will be able to play without tension, assessing his ability to compete at the upper levels once again.
Baghdatis is also trying to return to top form. The Cypriot has not quite made it, although he did make it to the s-Hertogenbosch grass court semifinals before falling to Ivan Dodig.
Baghdatis made the Wimbledon semifinals in 2006, losing to Nadal and the quarterfinals in 2007, losing to Djokovic. In 2010 the Cypriot lost in the first round at the All England Club. He will not lose in the first round in 2011.
Baghdatis in four.
Ana Ivanovic SRB  vs. Melanie Oudin USA
It is very difficult to comprehend the collapse of Ana Ivanovic’s game, starting in 2008.
In the beginning, the Serb seemed to have all the tools at her disposal, but once she reached that No. 1 ranking after winning the French Open championship in 2008, the level of expectation to win was too much.
The wheels fell off her wagon as the Serb faltered, falling precipitously down the ranking ladder. The lack of consistency is probably her greatest failing.
Seeded No. 18 Ivanovic, is 1-0 against Oudin, but that match happened two years ago on a hard court. Oudin, like Ivanovic, had a great run.
Oudin’s occurred at the U.S. Open. Since that run in 2009, the American has never been able to duplicate that success.
Still Oudin plays with a great spirit and tenacity but she does not own Ivanovic’s weapons.
Ivanovic wins in three sets.
Alexandr Dolgopolov UKR (22) vs. Fernando Gonzalez CHI
It is great to see the Chilean Fernando Gonzalez playing tennis again. But it will be a bit much to expect him to get past Alexandr Dolgopolov, the No. 22 seed, with relatively little match play coming into Wimbledon.
The two men met once before at Roland Garros in 2010 with Dolgopolov winning in straight sets.
Out for most of the year since last October, the 30-year-old Gonzalez is trying to make a return with a ranking listed at No. 478.
The Chilean had to retire in his most recent matches in Bordeaux and Prague.
The Ukraine made a name for himself by making the quarterfinals of the 2011 Australian Open, losing to finalist Andy Murray.
Last year playing Wimbledon for the first time, Dolgopolov lost in the second round in a five-set match to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Gonzalez will have little chance to make it through this opener, let alone win it.
Dolgopolov in three.
Sania Mirza IND vs. Virginia Razzano FRA
After her success in doubles at the French Open where she made the finals with her partner Elena Vesnina of Russia, Sania Mirza states that her game is definitely on an upswing as long as India’s best female tennis player can avoid injury.
Currently Mirza has fought her way back from outside the top 150 into the top 60 with growing confidence. The lady from India has one career WTA Tour title, winning the Bangalore Open in 2005.
Mirza caught everyone’s attention with her sudden rise to a career-high ranking of No. 27 in 2007.
At Wimbledon on Tuesday, Mirza will face world No. 96 Virginie Razzano in the first round. Mirza lost the only meeting between the two, in Los Angeles in 2007.
Razzano of France is a former top 20 player, now 28 years of age. The Frenchwoman will be remembered for her 2011 French Open appearance when Razzano exited the French Open after honoring her fiancé's dying wish for her to play at Roland Garros.
Mirza in three.