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Djokovic faces test at Wimbledon

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon


Third seed Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is in th same half of the draw as Federer

Third seed Novak Djokovic will be in the spotlight on the third day at Wimbledon when he takes on former world number one Marat Safin.

Australian Open champion Djokovic faces unseeded Safin in Wednesday's opening match on Centre Court at 1300 BST.

Defending champion Roger Federer takes on Robin Soderling in the third match on Centre, and Ana Ivanovic plays Nathalie Dechy first on Court One.

Lleyton Hewitt, Serena Williams and Elena Baltacha are also in action.

Briton Baltacha - first up on Court Two - won a tense three-setter against Angelique Kerber on Monday and now takes on China's Jie Zheng.

The 24-year-old Briton has suffered terrible injury problems over the years and is enjoying her moment back in the spotlight.

"My next opponent is really, really good," said Baltacha. "She's beaten Cibulkova. She's a good player. She's coming up the rankings. It will be a tough match.

I've been performing great tennis in last year or so

Novak Djokovic

"As long as I just keep fighting, show my personality, just keep going, you never know. If I play really well it will be a really good match."

Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title in Australia in January, beating Federer in the semi-finals, and the Serbian is keen to improve on last year's Wimbledon semi-final when he retired injured against Rafael Nadal.

Safin won their only previous encounter on his way to taking the Australian Open title in 2005, but the two players' careers have gone in opposite directions in the last three years.

"I've been performing great tennis in the last year or so, especially this year, winning a Grand Slam, a couple of major titles under my belt," said Djokovic.

"Heading to Wimbledon I gained much more confidence and I'm, of course, motivated to do even better than I did last year. Unfortunately I finished that way."

Federer enjoyed a straightforward win over Dominik Hrbaty on Monday, taking his unbeaten run on grass to 60 matches, and Soderling is not expected to threaten that record.

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The world number one, chasing a sixth consecutive Wimbledon title, has a 6-0 record against the Swede.

"Against me, he's had some issues, maybe not playing great in the most important moments," said the Swiss. "He gave up against me in Miami, which surprised me, you know.

"Those are just signs sometimes of being a little mentally weak. But nevertheless, you know, he's a guy I respect a lot."

French Open champion Ivanovic, up against Nathalie Dechy, is dealing with the added pressure of being the world number one.

"Becoming number one, it takes more pressure, but also you have to see pressure for what it is," said the Serbian. "It's a reflection of your own ambition.

"If you see it as a positive thing, it means that you put yourself in a position to do something memorable, that you feel pressure. So if you look at it that way it can be very motivating."

Williams takes on Poland's Urszula Radwanska in the third match on Court Two, immediately after Hewitt plays Albert Montanes.

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