By Benjamin Snyder
With the qualifying tournament completed, the first round of the Western & Southern Open for the women will begin on Monday, while the men continue round one action after two matches were finished on Sunday evening.
The marquee players fighting for a spot in the second round on Monday will include former World No.1s Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia. Both will play on Center Court during the night session.
The No. 13 seed Jankovic, who was the women’s top-ranked player in 2008 and the 2011 Cincinnati runner-up, will face Peng Shuai in a rematch of their 2011 Cincinnati quarterfinal meeting. That match, however, resulted in a walkover for the Serb as the Chinese player withdrew from the tournament due to injury.
The 2008 US Open finalist Jankovic currently leads the head-to-head versus Peng by six wins to two losses. Her last victory over Peng (not due to a walkover), however, came during the 2008 tournament in Berlin.
After the conclusion of that match, Hewitt, the top player for the men in 2001 after he claimed the US Open title, will face Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny. The Australian Hewitt, 31, who received a wild card into this tournament, finished as the runner-up to John Isner at the grass court event in Newport this summer. Additionally, he advanced to the round of 16 at the Olympics in his last event on Tour.
Earlier on Monday in the men’s event, wild card Brian Baker of the United States, who is enjoying a breakthrough season after injury sidelined him from the professional circuit for years, takes on the No. 15 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Center Court. Baker previously met the German during the round of 16 at Wimbledon, which he lost in straight sets. Since then, the Nashville-native has fallen in the first round of his last three tournaments.
In an all-American match, the first of the 2012 Western & Southern Open, Donald Young will face qualifier Jesse Levine for a place in the second round.
Two American women will also compete during the day’s singles action with qualifier Vania King facing Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, while Varvara Lepchenko faces lucky loser Timea Babos of Hungary.
Additionally, 2010 Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone, the No. 14 seed, will meet fellow Italian Camila Giorgi, who advanced to her first fourth round of a major at Wimbledon this year. Carlsbad champion Dominika Cibulkova, the No. 11 seed, will play qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova on Court 3.
Seeded players in the men’s draw also playing first round matches during Monday’s day session include the No. 13 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine and the No. 12 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia.
Sunday saw the completion of two men’s main draw matches with Bernard Tomic of Australia defeating Ryan Harrison of the United States. Meanwhile, the 2007 Cincinnati runner-up James Blake defeated South African Kevin Anderson, ranked No. 40 in the world, for his first win over a Top 40 player of the season. The American won in straight sets.
Earlier on Sunday, gold medalist and Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray held a press conference for members of the media in which he discussed his recent success at the All England Club. The Brit expressed his excitement at returning to the Western & Southern Open, which he won over five-time major title winner Novak Djokovic last year.