It’s a great time of the year to be a tennis fan.
The third, and most exciting major championship of the year takes centre stage, or should I say Centre Court this week at Wimbledon begins.
All the top players are in London, but the women’s draw really kicks into high gear the first day with five great matches that ESPN will be sure to cover wall-to-wall.
Let’s take at look at some of the women’s action.
Maria Sharapova vs. Anastasia Rodionova (Centre Court)
It’s a quick turnaround for the French Open champ as she now must focus on her grass court game for the next few weeks. I don’t expect to see Sharapova make too many adjustments to her game as she will play first-strike tennis on just about any surface. Serves and returns are always key on grass and that is where Sharapova can excel. Even though Rodionova doesn’t pose too many problems for Sharapova here, it will be fun to see if Maria continues her hot play that we all saw in Paris.
Kim Clijsters vs. Jelena Jankovic (Court No. 1)
What a first round match we have here. Lots of question marks as Clijsters is playing her final Wimbledon and is tryin to stay healthy. The Belgian had to pull out of the event last week as a precaution. Jankovic has been struggling, but she reached the finals in the Birmingham event before losing to Melanie Oudin in the finals. Clijsters lead the head-to-head with Jankovic 7-1, if Clijsters’ body holds out, she will win.
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Magdalena Rybarikova (Court No. 2)
Radwanska has had a good 2012 and she is hoping that continues at Wimbledon. Rybarikova is tall and has good reach. This is a tricky opening round march for the Pole, who lost early last week at Eastbourne. Radwanska wins in 3.
Sloane Stephens vs. Karolina Pliskova (Court No. 6)
This match is worth a watch to see these two young players and how they attack on grass. Stephens’ game should translate well to grass and she’s a good thinker on the court. Pliskova likes putting pace on the ball, but Stephens will get too many back and is a little more consistent. Stephens wins in straight sets, and could make some noise.
Vera Zvonareva Vs. Mona Barthel (Court TBD)
Zvonareva is a out of the top-10 and a bit of a myster here. she hasn’t played since she lost in the opening round at Madrid an she’s only 7-7 in 2012. Barthel is in a slump as she has lost her opening round match the last four events she has entered. I have no idea what to expect with this match, so it’s worth a watch.
Other interesting matches dot the order of play, should be a great Monday.