Former No. 1s Take the Court Wednesday

Nearly one year’s worth of time spent as the No. 1 player in the world will be featured on Center Court Wednesday night at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open when Dinara Safina takes on Kim Clijsters.

That match is one of 13 second round matches on the schedule for Wednesday, a day that will see seven of the top eight seeds who had received first round byes make their 2010 debut in Cincinnati. 

Safina, the 2009 Cincinnati finalist, has spent 26 weeks ranked No. 1 in her career, while Clijsters, who is the reigning US Open champion, has held the rankings’ top spot for 19 weeks. 

Rita Payne-Safina  v  Clijsters 054

Clijsters, the tournament’s fourth seed, owns a 6-2 advantage in her all-time meetings against Safina, but the Russian claimed a 6-2 7-5 win in their last meeting, which happened to come one year ago in the Cincinnati quarterfinals. 

Those are not the only former No. 1s in action on Wednesday. Ana Ivanovic, a former French Open champion who spent 12 weeks as No. 1, will play Yaroslava Shvedova during the Wednesday day session on Grandstand Court. 

In addition, Maria Sharapova, who has held the No. 1 ranking for 17 weeks in her career, will have to turn around and play again on Wednesday after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova Tuesday night. 

The 2009 US Open finalist, Caroline Wozniacki, will also be in action on Wednesday as she takes on Sybille Bammer in the second day match on Center Court. Wozniacki, who won the title last week in Copenhagen, is the second seed in Cincinnati, the tournament where she made her pro debut in 2005. 

There will be two all-Russian battles involving top seeds on Wednesday. The third seed, Elena Dementieva, will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3rd day match on Grandstand) while sixth seed Vera Zvonareva, the 2006 Cincinnati champion, will play Maria Kirilenko (11 a.m. on Center Court).

The only American on Wednesday’s singles schedule is 18-year-old Christina Mchale. The New Jersey native will take on Japan’s Ayumi Morita in the 4th match on Grandstand. Mchale defeated 2008 Cincinnati champion and No. 15 seed Nadia Petrova on Tuesday. 

The full order of play for Wednesday can be found here.