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Manic Monday: Day 7 preview

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Originally published on: 26/06/11 23:54

The business end of the Championships is upon us, and with Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet first up on Centre we won’t need to wait long for the emotional roller coaster to begin.

When these guys last met at the All England Club three years ago, the Scot prevailed after clawing his way back from two sets to love, and a break down, while a similar version of events played out between the pair at last year’s French Open. The classy Gasquet cruised into the fourth round here without dropping a set and Murray will be hoping to curb the Frenchmen’s confidence early on.

Five-time champion Venus Williams gets the Centre Court nod for her match-up with Tsvetana Pironkova. Venus will be wary of the Bulgarian’s capabilities on grass after Pironkova dumped her out of the Championships last year.

The problem with Day 7 is that there are too many enticing match-ups for one person to follow, but it will be tough to avoid watching when Rafael Nadal takes on Juan Martin Del Potro. The former US Open champ is back in the big time after a wrist-injury kept him out for most of 2010, and Nadal will be very wary of the threat the Argentine possesses. Del Potro boasts a 3-1 record over the defending champion in their last four games but when it comes to taking on Rafa on the grass, history and records tend to become a thing of the past.

Kicking-off proceedings on Court No.1 are Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli. Serena has already gone above and beyond what people expected of her this tournament, but she has winning in her blood and that’s a hard habit to kick. However, a win against the feisty Frenchwomen is far from a certainty. Bartoli herself reached the final here in 2007 after shocking Justine Henin at the semi-final stage before succumbing to Venus in the final.

Second up on Court No.1 is the man who, unlike Charlie Sheen, can really brag about winning – Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who had a frustrating win over Marcos Baghdatis in the previous round, faces Michael Llodra – one of three Frenchman to reach the second week. Llodra’s run to the fourth round equals his best ever performance at a major and the serve-and-volleyer will be hoping to upset Djokovic’s relentless rhythm.

Completing the Court No.1 line-up is six-time champion Roger Federer versus Mikhail Youzhny. The volatile Russian, who once drew blood by hitting himself in the head with his own racket, will need to produce something special to get passed the Swiss maestro who holds a 10-0 record against him.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki faces Dominika Cibulkova on Court No.2, after the Slovakian player took down 16th seed Julia Goerges in the previous round, while former champion Maria Sharapova plays Shuai Peng of China.

Court No.2 also sees last year’s men’s finalist Tomas Berdych take on American Mardy Fish.

The story of week one undoubtedly belonged to Bernard Tomic after the Australian sent the number five seed, Robin Soderling crashing out of the tournament. The 18-year-old faces Belgian Xavier Malisse – who has been rolling back the years with his grass-court form of late.

There are plenty of potential classics in store on Day 7 and none more so than David Ferrer versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The crowd-pleasing Frenchmen will go in as slight favourite against the clay-court specialist, but it’s hard to bet against a man as determined as Ferrer.

Elsewhere, week one surprise packages Lukasz Kubot and Feliciano Lopez face off on Court No.3 while Nadia Petrova plays fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.

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