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It’s showtime: Day 1 preview

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Originally published on: 20/06/11 12:45

It’s that time of year again when headbands come back into fashion, the phrase ‘Come on Andy’ reverberates from the nation’s lips in hope, and queuing suddenly becomes something everyone wants to do.

The first day of the 125th Wimbledon Championships is upon us and, as long as the rain stays away, there’s an action packed schedule to look forward to here at SW19.    

First up on Centre Court is Roland Garros champ and world No.1 Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard will be hoping to avoid any early upsets when he takes on American Michael Russell. The world No.90 will be looking to become only the third player in the open era to eliminate the defending champion in the first round. The last time that happened was in 2003 when Lleyton Hewitt went out to the big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic.    

The home support will be out in force on Murray Mound with the Scot third up on Centre against Daniel Gimeno-Traver. The Spaniard, ranked 59, picked up some big wins over Jurgen Melzer and Richard Gasquet this year but with grass under foot the clay-court specialist will find it difficult to get past Murray and his army of fans.    

Italian Francesca Schiavone and Australian Jelena Dokic complete the Centre Court line-up on day one. Last year’s Roland Garros titlist Schiavone will aim to use her backhand slice to full effect on the fresh grass against the world No.59. Dokic, no stranger to the surface having reached the semi-finals at the All England Club in 2000, warmed up for this weeks event by reaching the final of the Unicef Open in the Netherlands.    

Court No. 1 will see last year’s beaten finalists Vera Zvonereva and Tomas Berdych taking on American Alison Riske and Italian Filippo Volandri respectively. German Andreas Beck was rewarded for his fine form in qualifying with a show-court match-up against the big-hitting Andy Roddick.    

Elsewhere around the ground there are some mouth-watering battles in prospect. Court No.3 hosts an all-Croatian affair between Marin Cilic and Ivan Ljubicic and Court No. 12 sees the flamboyant Serb Janko Tipsarevic take on Ivo Karlovic.      

Fans on Court No. 2 can enjoy the return of former champion Venus Williams when she plays little-know Akgul Amanmuradova from Uzbekistan.    

As is always on the opening day, there are a whole host of British players on display around SW19. Katie O’Brien is first up on Court No.3 against 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm while Daniel Cox takes on Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky on Court No.14. Britain will at least be guaranteed one female in the second round as Court No.12 sees Anne Keothavong take on compatriot Naomi Broady.    

Other big names on show today include Mardy Fish, Gael Monfils, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andrea Petkovic, Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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