Former Champs Look for Continued Success on Important Day 4
By: Nicholas McCarvel
The non-stop action at the Family Circle Cup continues Thursday with 10 matches - all worth watching - on the docket between Billie Jean King and Althea Gibson Courts.
2011 winner and No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki opens the day against wild card Andrea Petkovic, a former top ten player. They've met three times, Wozniacki winning two of them - including their most recent at the US Open 18 months ago.
Wozniacki, a former world No. 1, was in fine form in losing just two games on Wednesday. But Petkovic is one to watch, after intermittent play due to injury over the last year or so, the German has returned in full over the last month and has notched two solid victories this week.
Serena Williams, the top seed here and defending champion, follows the Wozniacki-Petkovic battle, taking on young American Mallory Burdette. Burdette, just 22, upset 2009 champion Sabine Lisicki Wednesday afternoon in a thrilling match. It will be her first match against the younger Williams, who she says she looks forward to playing.
Serena brings an 11-match Charleston winning streak into Thursday, having won the title here in 2008 and 2012 and never playing between those two titles. She won her opener Tuesday in straight sets over Camila Giorgi.
In an all-American battle to start the day on Althea Gibson Court, 18-year-old Madison Keys meets wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who took out No. 4 seed and the favorited Sloane Stephens in the second round.
At 28, Mattek-Sands is 10 years older than her rising opponent, but Keys owns their only meeting at a challenger event a year ago and is ranked No. 77 to Bethanie's No. 113.
No. 10 seed Julia Goerges meets Stefanie Voegele in the second match on Althea Gibson, as well.
Fans should be sure not to miss 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic as she takes on the Cinderella story of the week in 19-year-old American Jessica Pegula in the third match on Althea Gibson Court. Pegula, ranked No. 148, has won the first two professional matches of her career this week in Charleston, including a second-round upset of No. 8 seed Mona Barthel.
Jankovic has also worked hard to make the third round. The former world No. 1 and the ninth seed here has won two three-set matches to open the tournament, including a 5-7, 7-6 (10), 6-3 effort over Caroline Garcia late Wednesday afternoon that saw her save two match points.
No. 12 seed Varvara Lepchenko will take on the winner of Venus Williams and Monica Puig (Wednesday night session match). Late in the day on Billie Jean King Court, No. 6 seed Lucie Safarova will meet No. 11 Sorana Cirstea. Safarova, who was a finalist here a year ago, owns a 2-1 head-to-head lead on the Romanian.
In the evening session, 2010 champion Sam Stosur meets up-and-coming Eugenie Bouchard, a 19-year-old from Canada who won the junior title at Wimbledon last year. The two have never met.
And to close out the day is the top seeds in doubles, Liezel Huber and Andrea Hlavackova face Chan Hao-Ching and Olga Govortsova. This is the first tournament Huber and Hlavackova have ever played in together.