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London 2012: Day Four Pick 'Em

Venus Williams proudly incorporates Team USA's colours into her hair.
by Dan Imhoff
Tuesday 31 July 2012

Our guide to what to look out for on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic tennis event...

Venus Williams (USA) v Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN): Williams Snr called her first-round effort “more like classic Venus”, the Venus of old who has reigned on these grounds five times. In the tussle of North American neighbours, Venus has won their only prior encounter, in a tight third-set tie-breaker during her comeback event in Miami this year. She hasn’t played on Centre Court since losing to Tsvetana Pironkova at Wimbledon a year ago and will soak it up in Team USA colours.
Pick: Venus to prolong her Olympic farewell at least another match.

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) v Andy Murray (GBR) [3]: The last time the two met on Centre Court at Wimbledon, Murray was also called on to put in a good showing for the Brits as he was playing before the Queen. The nostalgia of seeing the Scandinavian battle Murray again at SW19 is unlikely to lure Her Majesty back courtside to the Royal Box today, but expect the result to be the same regardless.
Pick: No Queen? No difference. Murray with ease.

Andy Roddick (USA) v Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2]: They are the early-round showdowns fans and the media alike love to circle when the draw is released – a battle of former No.1s and Grand Slam champions and it’s only the second round. Roddick has the runs on the board when it comes to grass – five of his titles with the green stuff under foot and a three-time Wimbledon runner-up – and he leads their head-to-head 5-3. Djokovic though, is only a “former” No.1 by a few weeks as opposed to eight and a half years and he is the defending US Open Champion; Roddick won it nine years ago.
Pick: Djokovic in two tight sets.

Maria Sharapova (RUS) [3] v Laura Robson (GBR): Maria Sharapova has come up against the young Brit – and the wave of home-crowd support she brings – on Centre Court before. On that occasion, a year ago, the Russian eked out a tough straight sets win. Since that match Sharapova has made three of the last five Grand Slam finals (winning one), made a fleeting return to top spot and carried the Ruski flag into a stadium full of wide-eyed athletes. An impressive year, however Robson has quietly snuck her way into the top 100 and with a nation behind her will give the third seed her share of headaches.
Pick: Sharapova to put the foot down after stealing a first-set tie-break.

Others to watch:

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [5] v Milos Raonic (CAN): Two towering hopes meet in a high-speed shoot-out on No.1 Court. Flip a coin if the Raonic serve is on.

Maria Kirilenko (RUS) [14] v Heather Watson: It’s another Russian Maria v Great Britain. Both girls had career-best runs at Wimbledon this year.

Marin Cilic (CRO [16] v Lleyton Hewitt (AUS): Never rule out the gritty little Aussie, especially when wearing the green and gold.

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [1] v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP): The top seed beat the hyphenated Begu yesterday. Today it’s the four-named Spaniard.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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