The third round begins later on with the two favourites for the title leading the way. We take a look at some of the exciting matches to look forward to on Friday’s schedule. All matches listed are on TV courts.
(1) Serena Williams vs Daniela Hantuchova (31) 11am, Rod Laver Arena, Williams leads head to head 8-1
Serena has been in dominant form as ever to begin the year, opening with a Brisbane title before dropping just six games on her way to the third round. Meanwhile, Hantuchova lost more games than that in her third set of her victory over Karolina Pliskova in the last round – a 12-10 deciding set seeing her through. After two lowly ranked players in Dolonc and Barty, Hantuchova will be the first seeded player to face Williams and has previously picked up a victory over Serena at this very tournament, winning 6-1 7-6 in 2006. However, this was a year plagued by depression and injury issues and saw her fall outside the top 100. This match should give a better idea of what sort of level Serena is at although she should still come through easily.
(17) Samantha Stosur vs Ana Ivanovic (14) 7pm, Rod Laver Arena, Stosur leads head to head 4-3
With a fourth round match up against Serena Williams waiting for the winner here, the pair have a lot to play for. Stosur has looked extremely comfortable in her two matches in Melbourne so far, making a mockery of previous struggles. In the second round against Sydney winner Tsvetana Pironkova, she lost just two games and broke her opponents serve five times. Ivanovic has also been a winner in straight sets in both matches, defeating Annika Beck and Kiki Bertens. Stosur has the edge on hard courts over all, leading 2-0 on outdoor courts and 4-1 on hard overall, although Ivanovic’s win in Sofia late last year reversed that slide. While Stosur was upset in Hobart, Ivanovic came into this event on good form with the Auckland title her first regular season one since Linz 2010.
Florian Mayer vs Jerzy Janowicz (20) 11am, Show Court 3, Mayer leads head to head 2-0
Despite being heavily favoured to win each of his first two matches in this tournament, Janowicz has looked far from convincing and needed to make comebacks against both Jordan Thompson and Pablo Andujar – neither of which are acclaimed for their hard court talents. He will not be able to start slowly against Florian Mayer who is much more capable than the aforementioned two. Mayer had to come through a tough five setter against Mikhail Youzhny which could well play in Janowicz’s favour although the last time these two met, Mayer won at Wimbledon 2012 after a 0-2 comeback in the previous round to win in five.
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