TENNIS: Samantha Stosur knows the game of German Sabine Lisicki only too well.
They combined in 2011 to reach the women’s doubles final at Wimbledon.
Tonight, however, they will clash for the eighth time, in the second round of the women’s singles at the All England Club.
The 14th seed from Australia enjoyed a comfortable 7-5 6-3 first-round win over Magda Linette, while Lisicki advanced after downing American Shelby Rogers with ease 6-1 6-3.
While the German’s ranking has ballooned out to 81 after a career-high of 12, she has an outstanding record at Wimbledon, having breezed past Stosur on her way to contesting the 2013 final. She also made the semi-finals in 2011 and contested the quarters on three other occasions.
Stosur, who has never made it past the third round in 13 previous attempts at Wimbledon, said she was planning to “fight fire with fire” against the owner of the fastest serve in women’s tennis (210.8kmh).
“No doubt this is a tournament she feels very comfortable at no matter what she’s been doing in the lead-up,” the 32-year-old from Queensland said.
“I’m sure when she walks through the gates here she probably feels like she’s No.1 in the world.
“You have to be aware of that and know she has a very big serve, she plays big and hits the ball hard.
“She absolutely plays aggressive. If she’s on that day, you have got to be really willing to fight fire with fire and go after it and not kind of feel like you’re going to get dictated to.”
The pair last met at the 2014 Rome Masters when Stosur won 4-6 6-2 6-1 for a 5-2 win-loss record, but Lisicki thrives on grass.
“I really liked this place from the beginning. In this place you feel the history. It’s just a magical place,” Lisicki said.
“When I come here, I just feel really special to have the opportunity to play.”
Lisicki, 26, last year sent down a world-record 27 aces in a grass-court match in Birmingham.
“When you serve well on this surface, it’s a big advantage,” she said.
Stosur will be the only Aussie in action tonight after the No.130-ranked Sam Groth lost to No.5 Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-3 7-5.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic will be searching for a 30th grand slam match win in succession when he takes on France’s Adrian Mannarino.
Third seed Roger Federer, meanwhile, will take on world No.772 Marcus Willis after his shock first-round win over Ricardas Berankis.
“It is what our sport needs, where guys come from nowhere,” 17-time major winner Federer said of his opponent.