Photo: Paul ZimmerWimbledon
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: The Olympic Tennis Event gets under way on Saturday, the opening day of London 2012, with Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych and Belgium’s Steve Darcis going head-to-head in the first match on Centre Court.
Berdych and Darcis have only met once in their senior careers, at a clay court Challenger event in 2009, and the Belgian triumphed in straight sets on that occasion. They also met twice in their junior days, which resulted in one win apiece.
Despite this losing record, however, Berdych will be the hot favourite to book his place in the second round. The world No. 7 has reached the quarterfinals and last 16 on his two previous Olympic appearances, in Athens and Beijing, while Darcis lost in the first round on his Olympic debut four years ago.
Berdych is also no slouch on grass having reached the Wimbledon final in 2010, although Darcis, the world No. 75, can draw strength from his opponent’s first round exit at The Championships this year against Ernests Gulbis.
Serena Williams, a two-time Olympic doubles gold medallist, will be hoping to add a singles gold medal to her collection at London 2012. The American, fresh from winning her fifth Wimbledon title, follows on Centre Court for a tricky first round clash with former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.
Roger Federer, the current men’s world No. 1, is next up against Alejandro Falla. On paper it looks like an easy route through to the second round for the Swiss top seed, but Falla has caused him problems in the past. At Wimbledon two years ago, the Colombian served for the match against Federer before losing in five sets.
The last match on Centre Court pits Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki against Great Britain’s Anne Keothavong. Wozniacki reached the last 16 on her first Olympic appearance in Beijing, while Keothavong is making her debut on home soil this time.
Keothavong’s doubles partner Elena Baltacha, ranked No. 102 in the world, is also set to make her Olympic debut on Saturday. The 28-year-old faces Hungary’s Agnes Szavay in the third match on No. 18 Court.
On No. 1 Court, Janko Tipsarevic and David Nalbandian open proceedings before two women’s matches see Samantha Stosur take on Carla Suarez Navarro and Petra Kvitova meet Kateryna Bondarenko. The last scheduled match has Juan Martin del Potro facing Ivan Dodig.
Other matches to look out for on Saturday include Kim Clijsters versus Roberta Vinci on No. 2 Court and Nicolas Almagro against Viktor Troicki on No. 18 Court. The doubles first round also begins on Saturday.
Play starts at 12:00pm on Centre Court and No. 1 Court, and 11:30am on all other courts. Click the link below to view the full order of play.
- Saturday's schedule