Cup Choices: Lisicki, Jankovic Make Their Debuts

Back again at the tournament she loves, 2009 Volvo Car Open winner Sabine Lisicki plays her opener Wednesday afternoon, this year with a Grand Slam final under her belt.

“The most exciting thing I’ve done in the last year?” Lisicki asked. “That would have to be making the Wimbledon final. It was just incredible.”

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Lisicki’s big-hitting game is certainly incredible, too, and in the second match on Billie Jean King Stadium Court the No. 4 seed makes her 2014 Charleston debut against American Vania King.

The German is not the only former champion in action on Wednesday: No. 2 seed and 2007 winner Jelena Jankovic will headline the evening session (against Lauren Davis of the U.S.) and Venus Williams, winner here in 2004, takes to the court again after winning on Tuesday. 

Williams was made to work extra hard to advance to the second round Tuesday with a three-set extended win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. She faces South African Chanelle Scheepers in the fourth match during the day session on Stadium Court.

Sloane Stephens returns to the Volvo Car Open a year after losing her opening match here. She will open the day’s play at 10 am on Stadium Court against Elina Svitolina, a fellow on-the-rise threat on the WTA Tour.

Stephens, 21, and Svitolina, 19, have met just once before, Sloane winning a back-and-forth battle at the Australian Open earlier this year.

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There are plenty of great matches sprinkled throughout the grounds on Wednesday, including American Madison Keys, just 19, playing Peng Shuai of China (second on Althea Gibson Court). Belinda Bencic, who upset No. 10 seed Maria Kirilenko in the first round, will look to continue her run here after qualifying as she takes on Marina Erakovic in the second match on Court 3.

Doubles fans get a treat after the Jankovic-Davis battle in the night session as adopted local favorites Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears (who stay with a host family here in Charleston), the No. 3 seeds, meet Jarmila Gajdosova and Zheng Saisai.

Lisicki and King have never played. The big-hitting German has had an affinity for Charleston since winning here in 2009.

“I love coming back here,” the 24-year-old said. “I have great memories here and I feel like I play my best tennis here.”

Top-seeded players will look to avoid the upset bug that nabbed both top seed Serena Williams and No. 8 Sorana Cirstea on Tuesday.

No. 3 seed Sara Errani, a clay-court specialist who was the 2012 French Open finalist, faces qualifier Kiki Bertens in her opener.

American Taylor Townsend, who lost in singles qualifying, is also in the doubles draw. She pairs with Genie Bouchard of Canada to play Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova in the third match on Court 3.