The Williams sisters headline a big Thursday of tennis at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. Both Venus and Serena are in action for third round play at this WTA premier level tournament.
At 1pm, 2008 champion Serena meets Marina Erakovic for a first time. In her first round, Serena dispatched Elena Vesnina, and after she extolled the virtues of playing on the dirt.
“I forgot I hadn’t played on clay in so long, but that’s so true,” Serna said. “I really love the clay. I feel like it suits my game. I don’t have to go crazy and move my feet so much. And it’s no different from hard or grass – I should be able to play the same and do the same, if not better, because I have more time.”
Venus is on next against Australian Anastasia Rodionova. Venus blew out the Australian in 2007 and after a convincing last night over former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, she’ll be the heavy favorite today.
“I like to go for it in general, but on clay I do try to exercise some patience,” said Venus. “Personally I love clay and I’ve won a lot of big titles on clay. I was close to winning the biggest title and it didn’t work out. Someone beat me.”
Venus won the Charleston title in 2004 and she’s hoping for another strong performance this week to better put herself in qualification for the London Olympics. Venus is ranked No. 87 this week and to make the U.S. team for singles she’ll need to rank among the Top 4 American women after the French Open.
Slone Stephens is currently in that fourth position at a No. 75 ranking.
If the sisters win today and in their quarterfinals tomorrow they’ll meet in the semifinals on Saturday.
Marion Bartoli and former champion Sam Stosur are also scheduled today.
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Marion Bartoli vs. Polona Hercog
2. Marina Erakovic vs. Serena Williams (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Venus Williams vs. Anastasia Rodionova
4. Sabine Lisicki vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
5. Galina Voskoboeva vs. Samantha Stosur (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Huber/Raymond vs. Jans-Ignacik/Kudryavtseva
Althea Gibson (from 12.00hrs)
1. Aleksandra Wozniak vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
3. Vera Zvonareva vs. Stefanie Voegele
4. Mirza/Vesnina vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova
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