By Benjamin Snyder
The Western & Southern Open’s top seeds Roger Federer and Agnieszka Radwanska take over Center Court on Wednesday in a day featuring some of the world’s top talent in another packed day of tennis.
During the first night match, the 17-time major champion Federer plays Russia’s Alex Bogomolov Jr. The Swiss and World No. 1 won titles in Cincinnati in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He recently took home the silver medal at the London Olympics.
Attempting to stand in his way to another Cincinnati title is defending champion Andy Murray, who defeated Federer in straight sets in the Olympics finals. The Brit begins his Western & Southern Open campaign as the No. 3 seed against wild card Sam Querrey of the United States.
Meanwhile, the recent Montreal champion Novak Djokovic is also in the mix as the No. 2 seed. He can reclaim the World No. 1 spot from Federer depending on the results posted by both players at the Lindner Family Tennis Center this week.
Starting the day’s action is Poland’s Radwanska, the runner-up at Wimbledon and a quarterfinalist most recently at Toronto. She, too, has a shot at taking the world’s top ranking if she can win in Cincinnati and New Haven next week. Radwanska will play Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden in her first match of the tournament after a bye in round one.
Agnieszka’s younger sister, Urszula, will also be fighting to advance deeper into the tournament. She faces fellow qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros this year.
The final match of Center Court for the day will feature China’s Li Na, a finalist at Toronto and the Roland Garros titlist in 2011. She takes on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, a semifinalist at Stanford in July, first.
Toronto champion Petra Kvitova also plays on Wednesday at the Premier-level event. She faces Germany’s Mona Barthel as the No. 4 seed. Scheduled on-court directly after Kvitova is Venus Williams, who defeated the No. 12 seed Maria Kirilenko in her first round match on Tuesday. Next up for her is Chanelle Scheepers.
Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who comes to Cincinnati with boyfriend and recent PGA champion Rory McIlroy, begins her tournament as the No. 6 seed. She takes on qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva as she attempts to claim a first Cincinnati title. Her best showing at the Lindner Family Tennis Center came back in 2007 when she reached the quarterfinals.
Other matches of note for the women include a battle of the wild cards between Sloane Stephens of the United States and Camila Giorgi of Italy. Both have posted strong results at the majors this year with Stephens getting to the fourth round of Roland Garros and Giorgi making it to the fourth round of Wimbledon. The No. 17 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova takes on Germany’s Julia Goerges in her match.
For the men, Grandstand matches include American Mardy Fish against Carlos Berlocq and No. 4 David Ferrer versus Stanislas Wawrinka. The wild cards Lleyton Hewitt of Austalia and American James Blake also play for chances to advance at Cincinnati, a place where they’ve both finished as runners-up in the past.