Big guns out in force on Wednesday

This content was published 13 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

Wednesday will be an absolute treat for fans and arguably the best day’s tennis anywhere this season. Where else could you expect to see Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Na Li, Sam Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and David Ferrer all in the space of 12 hours?
Play will start at 11 am on the outside courts with the likes of Gilles Simon and Daniela Hantuchova as appetisers for the main event. At midday, Novak Djokovic will open his Rome campaign and continue his (inexorable?) march towards the world No.1 spot against Lukasz Kubot, while French Open finalist Sam Stosur will face elegant Czech lefty Iveta Benesova on court no.1

The afternoon’s excitement will peak after Djokovic’s appearance with world no.1 and five-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal making his 2011 bow at the Foro Italico against the surprise package of the tournament so far. Paolo Lorenzi came through the qualifiers and then shook up the Foro Italico by defeating Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci – a Madrid semi-finalist and newly-minted world no.22 into the bargain. Nadal of course is coming off defeat to Djokovic in the Madrid final which put an end to his incredible streak of invincibility on clay, stretching 37 matches all the way through 2010 and into 2011. An exciting match awaits.

And what of the third musketeer? Roger Federer is something of a forgotten man now with the “Rafa-Nole” rivalry all the rage, but it should be remembered that he took Nadal to three sets in Madrid. He will have his work cut out for him however when he opens the evening session against a pumped-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has vowed to play an even more attacking brand of tennis this season than before (when he was already an avid volleyer and power hitter).

In the women’s draw, Ana Ivanovic will look to continue her love affair with Rome against Yanina Wickmayer on court no.1 in mid-afternoon, while two-time winner and 2010 finalist Jelena Jankovic will have to have her wits about her against another Czech lefty, Lucie Safarova. And after this Serbian double bill, close friends Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki will get their tournaments under way in the evening. World no.4 Vika faces Italian Fed Cup stalwart Sara Errani on Pietrangeli, while the top seed and world no.1 Wozniacki has the honour of closing out the night on Centre against dangerous Australian Anastasia Rodionova, who defeated Yaroslava Shvedova in the first round.

All this, and we haven’t even mentioned Andrea Petkovic (who faces Polona Hercog at 11 am) or Sam Querrey, Juergen Melzer, Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli. Let alone Feliciano Lopez, Stan Wawrinka, Ivan Ljubicic or Mardy Fish. What a day in store…

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