Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens Headline Blockbuster Tuesday
By: Nicholas McCarvel
Two-time Family Circle Cup winner and defending champion Serena Williams headlines an eye-popping day session line-up Tuesday in Charleston that also includes 2009 title holder Sabine Lisicki and 2007 champ Jelena Jankovic.
Williams, the top seed here and No. 1 player in the world, faces Camila Giorgi of Italy to start off her Charleston campaign. Last week in Miami, the 31-year-old American captured her record sixth title there.
“Hopefully I can rekindle some of that fire I had last year,” Serena told the press Monday afternoon. “After the win here it was a great rest of the year… it’s been a great 12 months, really.”
Williams won Wimbledon, Olympic gold and the US Open to close out the season. In Charleston a year ago she didn’t drop a set in six convincing matches.
The action continues at night on Billie Jean King Court with rising American star and No. 4 seed Sloane Stephens taking on wildcard and fan favorite Bethanie Mattek-Sands at 7 pm before a women’s doubles match follows.
Stephens enters the Family Circle Cup as the world No. 16, her highest career ranking following a run to the Australian Open semifinal, which included a victory over Serena.
It’s the 2009 champ Lisicki who gets play underway on Tuesday with Anna Tatishvili across the net from her. That match is followed by Jankovic’s, who has American star Melanie Oudin to start in what promises to be a baseline battle.
Following the Serena vs. Giorgi showdown, No. 8 seed Mona Barthel of Germany takes on American qualifier Jessica Pegula after she won a three-set seesaw match early Monday evening.
But all the action is not just on Billie Jean King Court. Rising American stars Madison Keys and Varvara Lepchenko both playing on Althea Gibson Court, second and fourth respectively. Keys will face Alexandra Cadantu of Romania while Lepchenko takes on Mathilde Johansson of France.
Daniela Hantuchova is first on that court at 10 am, while British 19-year-old Laura Robson plays third. Hantuchova, a former top 5 player, meets Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Robson takes on Spaniard Estrella Cabeza Candela. The dynamic doubles duo of Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic close the day on that court against Kristina Mladenovic and Lucie Safarova in what promises to be a must-watch for fans.
Court 3 has a slew of must-watch battles, as well. American qualifier Vania King takes on former doubles partner Yaroslava Shvedova in the first match of the day before No. 10 Julia Goerges meets teenager Yulia Putintseva, who is coached by Martina Hingis.
No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro and No. 11 seed Sorana Cirstea are the last two matches on Court 3.