The third round of the 2013 Australian Open has arrived on Day 5 in Melbourne Park, and the first Grand Slam event on the ATP slate has plenty of exciting matches on Friday despite being in its early stages.
And while Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams were dominant as expected, eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova was knocked out by native Australian Laura Robson. The hometown 18-year-old who grew up primarily in the UK bounced back to win the second set 6-3 after dropping the first 2-6, then gutted out a grueling 11-9 third set over her heavily favored foe.
In other words, the intrigue will only continue to build from here.
Here is a complete guide to the bracket and a preview of some of the showdowns that are bound to be fantastic—and keep those in the States up through the wee hours of the morning.
Day 5 TV Schedule
|Round||Time of Coverage (ET)||Channel|
|Third Round||11 p.m. - 7 a.m.||ESPN2|
(Note: Coverage begins late Thursday evening and continues into Friday morning.)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Brackets (courtesy of the Australian Open's official website)
For the complete men's bracket, click here.
For the complete women's bracket, click here.
Click here for Friday's complete schedule of play.
Matches to Watch
In the very first match on the schedule, it will be the top-ranked player in the world in Djokovic looking to continue on cruise control. The stout Serbian has not dropped a set and convincingly pounded American Ryan Harrison in Round 2.
As the two-time reigning champion of this event, it's hard to envision Djokovic encountering much resistance from his counterpart.
But the 34-year-old Stepanek has been around for a long time, and has matched his personal best by reaching this stage of the tournament. It will take an extraordinary effort just to snag a set from Djokovic, though.
That said, he certainly has a recent, high-profile experience to draw on.
Typically known as a better doubles player, it was Stepanek who won the decisive match in the most recent Davis Cup final for the Czech Republic (h/t BBC). It may not ultimately be enough to topple Djokovic, but it should be enough to make this match memorable.
David Ferrer (4) vs. Marcos Baghdatis (28)
A supreme clash of styles will be on display when Ferrer's scrappy, defense-driven game matches up with the aggressive, brash style of the hard-hitting Baghdatis.
Unfortunately, Melbourne was the site of a low moment in Baghdatis' career in 2012, one that will forever unfortunately link him to the Australian Open in a dim light. He smashed four consecutive rackets during a changeover in a clearly frustrating loss (h/t Australian Open TV).
With his brand of emotion and fiery competitiveness, anything can happen when Baghdatis is on the court.
He will likely come out swinging for the fences as usual with his massive serve, but Ferrer's steadiness and fitness should be enough to counter that game plan and allow the Spaniard to advance.
There may be quite a disparity in seeding, but these are two players who have made significant history in their respective careers.
It's been nearly a decade—since the 2003 Australian Open—since Williams has reached a Grand Slam singles final on a hard court. Injuries and illnesses have plagued her in her career, but she is still a force to be reckoned with.
Meanwhile, Sharapova has enjoyed a return to form after a shoulder injury derailed her career for a couple of years. She capped off the career Grand Slam by winning the French Open, and was atop the WTA rankings near the end of the year.
It's seldom that fans are treated to a match between two future Hall of Famers this early on in such a big tournament. Despite Sharapova's resurgence, Williams should be able to make this match very interesting.
Agnieszka Radwanska (4) vs. Heather Watson
The high seeding may allow Radwanska to have a big breakthrough in this event, where she has reached the quarterfinals in the past two years.
After a season that saw her reach the Wimbledon final, Radwanska has been in strong form throughout her first two matches in Melbourne, winning each in straight sets.
Watson is relatively new to the WTA scene, but has shown strong resolve. She dropped the opening set in both of her previous matches, but was able to rally back to stay alive to this point. At just 20 years old, Watson is equipped with a strong serve and already has an impressive array of shots in her arsenal.
That sort of versatility doesn't quite rival that of Radwanska's, but the potential is definitely there. This should be a thrilling showdown if Watson registers a high first-serve percentage and is able to continue hanging tough should she fall behind early.