With all the time off tour and injuries she has had, every match Kim Clijsters plays at Wimbledon 2012 is a test. So far, so good. She took out Jelena Jankovic in round 1 and received a win against Vera Zvonareva when the Russian star was forced to retire with respiratory difficulty. At the time of Vera’s retirement, Kim was winning 6-3 4-3. It’s possible, though not outright a sure thing, that Kim was a few games from winning anyway. Next up is the 8th seed, Angelique Kerber. That’s the toughest match of the tournament so far for Kim. Kerber is fearless and leads the WTA tour in total wins this year at 43 going into their matchup. This will be a highlight match on Monday.
Moving right along is top seed and world #1 Maria Sharapova. Although she handled Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-1 6-4, she struggled a bit in the windy conditions. Even Chris Evert, a 3-time winner who called the match for ESPN, mentioned that Masha’s style of going for the lines with power and really not having a Plan B, other than hit it harder, worked against her. She could have used a little more spin or maybe aiming just a bit off of the lines. With all due respect, Masha would have beaten Hsieh either way but could have made it easier on herself. Like Kerber and Clijsters, Masha will get her biggest test in big serving Sabine Lisicki next. Now, Masha has never lost to Sabine, and beat her in straight sets in last year’s semifinals. However, whenever you can serve like Lisicki on grass, you have a chance. But I do acknowledge Sabine will have to have a match like last year against Li Na where she served out of her mind to beat Sharapova.
Singles – Third Round
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 61 64
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 60 62
(8) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (28) Christina McHale (USA) 62 63
Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. (12) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 63 43 ret. (respiratory illness)
(15) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 76(5) 16 62
(17) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 63 61
(Q) Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. (20) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 76(6)
(30) Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Arantxa Rus (NED) 61 62