Henin (17) vs. Petrova (12) (Centre Court, 1st match): Two Slams ago, Petrova scored a stunning third-round upset over a member of Belgium’s dazzling duo, and she has an opportunity to repeat the feat on the grandest stage of all. Typically tormented by Henin’s graceful, versatile style, the programmatic Russian dropped two tight matches to the seven-time major champion early this year in Australia, during which she revealed the mental frailties that have undermined her formidable game. Nevertheless, Nadia has shone at Slams this year with consecutive quarterfinal appearances that will have boosted her confidence for a clash against Henin, whose comeback has slowed after an explosive start at Brisbane and Melbourne. Effective but not overwhelming in her first two matches, Justine continues to struggle with her modified service motion; in this match, she can’t afford the chronic wobbles on serve that she suffered in her second-round clash with Barrois. A quarterfinalist at last year’s Wimbledon, the Russian centers an outstanding grass-court style around a reliable serve and dexterous net play. Just as Stosur relied on her massive delivery to defuse Henin’s shotmaking brilliance at Roland Garros, Petrova’s unglamorous but functional game might well end the Belgian’s Wimbledon campaign, as long as the Russian doesn’t ponder the situation too deeply.
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