Australian Open 2013: Players Set to Shine on Day 5 from Melbourne

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Australian Open 2013: Players Set to Shine on Day 5 from Melbourne
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Third-round action from the 2013 Australian Open tips off on Day 5 Friday, where a number of stars, including Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, will look to secure their berth in the round of 16. 

But those stars are guaranteed to shine. What about the lesser-known players still in the championship mix?

Let's take a closer look at a trio of players who are set to shine bright on Day 5 from Down Under.

 

Tomas Berdych

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The men's No. 5 seed, Tomas Berdych, has cruised through the first two rounds at the Australian Open, winning both his matches in straight sets.

With Jurgen Melzer next up for Berdych on Day 5, the Czech star will once again be at an advantage. Melzer needed five sets and nearly four hours on Day 3 to dispose of Roberto Bautista-Agut. Meanwhile, Berdych took out Guillaume Rufin in just two hours. Therefore, I expect the No. 26 seed to wear down the longer this third-round match goes on, which shouldn't be more than four sets.

Plus, Berdych has cleaned up his game after a somewhat messy first-round win over American Michael Russell, committing just 24 unforced errors on Day 3 after tallying 37 in his opening-round win.

He looks poised to make a third straight run to the quarterfinal stage.

 

Marion Bartoli

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French women's star Marion Bartoli may not have been as dominant as Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams during the first two rounds at Melbourne Park, but she is showing all the signs of a contender early on.

Bartoli has won all four of her sets so far, and will take on No. 19 Ekaterina Makarova next in the third round on Day 5. 

The 28-year-old Bartoli has cashed in on 12 of 19 break-point chances so far at this year's Slam, and she'll need to convert on more than 50 percent of them again vs. Makarova in order to advance to the fourth round of the Aussie Open for the first time since 2009.

Given her hot start, one has to believe Bartoli will deliver on Day 5.

 

Kei Nishikori

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After dropping the first set of his opening-round match against Victor Hanescu, Japan's Kei Nishikori has won six straight sets and now finds himself set to take on unseeded Evgeny Donskoy in the third round on Day 5.

In his second-round win over Carlos Berlocq, Nishikori was sensational, racking up 47 winners and taking 13 of 19 points at the net. Look for the 23-year-old No. 16 seed to produce more of the same numbers against Donskoy. He plays a risky game, often going for winners, but the risk has certainly paid off as of late, turning out more points than errors.

Nishikori made a deep run to the quarters in Australia last year, and he looks poised to do it again in 2013. A win over Donskoy would have him just one win away from the quarters. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter throughout the 2013 Australian Open for more reaction and analysis on the year's first Grand Slam.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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