4 Former Current & Former Champions to Compete at once
July 01, 2012 | 10:13 PM
In Paris they played the two men's semis at the same time.
In London, ESPN will dedicate two channels to live coverage all day tomorrow:
- on ESPN2 starting at 7am EST
- on ESPN starting at 8am
In addition, they offer online coverage on ESPN3 starting at 6:30am when the first players take the courts. Too much?
Maybe not even enough - the 3 women most likely to win the championship - all former champions and all seeded in the top 6 - may overlap on court, and none of them will be on Centre Court. That privilege is withheld until the second match, after Federer, when #2 Vika Azarenka takes the spotlight.
At 6:30 am EST:
- #4 Kvitova v Schiavone (on ESPN3 Live)
- #6 Williams v Shvedova (on ESPN3 Live)
At 8am EST:
- #1 Sharapova v #15 Sabine Lisicki (on ESPN2)
- #3 Federer v Xavier Malisse (on ESPN Live))
That's 4 Wimbledon champions who will be overlapping each other on different screens, plus a French Open champion (Schiavone), a 2011 semi-finalist (Lisicki), Shvedova - the winner of the first golden set ever played in WTA competition (in her last round v Paris finalist Sara Errani), and Xavier Malisse, who might wonder what he's doing in this line-up if he hadn't been a 2002 semi-finalist.
Not a bad start to Wimbledon's longest quality day, if you are a multi-tracking tennis carnivore with several screens. I was there with family last year on this day, when from Centre Court's silence during Nadal's match with Del Potro we could hear the roars of crowds from Court 1 and other courts as the Williams sisters were simultaneously being upset. I don't know what to expect tomorrow, and though I won't be there to witness any of it, I'll see more than I did from my seat in Centre Court.
And this is just the feature matches starting at 6:30. Two more singles matches follow on each of the show courts, featuring:
2nd On Matches: (show courts)
- #2 Azarenka v #14 Ivanovic (follows Fed on CC)
- #4 Murray v #16 Cilic (follows Sharapova)
- #3 Radwanska v Giorgi (follows Serena)
- #8 Kerber v Clijsters (follows Kvitova)
Last on: (show courts)
- #1 Joker v Troicki (follows Azarenka)
- #7 Ferrer v #9 Del Potro (follows Murray)
- #5 Tsonga v #10 Fish (follows Radwanska)
- #18 Gasquet v #31 Mayer (follows Clijsters)
This schedule leaves two men's and two women's singles matches to be played on outside courts.
On Court 12 starting at 6:30 EST:
- #21 Vinci v Paszek
- #17 Kirilenko v #30 Peng
- #27 Kohlschreiber v Baker
On Court 18 starting at 6:30 EST:
- #26 Youzhny v Istomin
For BRIAN BAKER, playing last on an outside court is probably a blessing, allowing him to remain invisible for one more round. Should he win, in the quarters he'll play the winner of Tsonga and Fish, both experienced show court players, and the run for him will probably be up. After winning 7 matches in a row here, including 3 in the qualifiers, he would have won as many times as the champion and gone further than any male qualifier in recent years. Add to that his absenteeism from the tour for several years, and his story would be as remarkable and memorable as any. Were he to lose, his run would be extraordinary, but not as memorable. Making the second week is an honor, the quarters is getting elite.
With Fish as rusty as he was coming in to this event after a 9 week lapse, and having not beaten Tsonga either time they played (at the Open and Barclays last year), Baker is the more likely American to advance to the quarters.
Ferrer v Del Potro appears to be the closest of the men's matches. Ferrer has won their last 2 matches, in Miami this year, and last year in Davis Cup.
After a more dramatic first week than we've seen in years on the men's side, perhaps tomorrow will return order to the outcomes without producing blander tennis than we've been treated to so far.
Among the women's matches, two appear likely to be the most competitive:
- Azarenka v Ivanovic (H2H history is 2-2)
- Sharapova v Lisicki (H2H history is 3-0 Maria, including last year's semis)
Wimbledon Preview: 2nd Monday 7.1.12