We're in the middle of the third round in Melbourne, and the 2013 Australian Open has arguably its most exiting slate of action to date on Saturday.
Friday's action has already resulted in straight-set wins for No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. Li Na and Maria Sharapova also made it through with straight-set wins, and Sharapova put a hurt on Venus Williams in what was supposed to be a hotly-contested match.
On Saturday, the field will move into the fourth round on the men's and women's singles sides, and we'll start to inch closer towards knowing who will emerge from the draw into the final couple of rounds.
Here's a complete look at the Day 6 slate of action, with some matches to watch for at the Aussie Open and when you should tune in to see the best matches of the day.
Day 6 TV Schedule
|Round||Time of Coverage (ET)||Channel|
|Third Round||7 p.m. — 7 a.m.||ESPN2|
(Note: Coverage begins late Friday evening and continues into Saturday 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 Saturday's complete schedule of play.
Matches to Watch
Roger Federer (2) vs. Bernard Tomic
These two have had a playful rivalry during the Open this year, ever since they found out this match would be on the docket should the pair both reach the third round.
Federer likely isn't extremely worried about the 20-year-old Tomic, but the last remaining Aussie in the tournament has won 10 straight matches and held serve in 76 straight games, making for an exciting contrast against the most decorated star in the history of the sport.
Look for the home crowd to come alive early, but Federer hasn't lost a set yet in the tournament and has proved he's still one of the sport's elite with his last few tournaments. The two squared off last year in the fourth round, so a little bit of revenge will be on the line for Tomic in this battle of old versus new.
Andy Murray (3) vs. Ricardas Berankis
Murray is in the middle of the best streak of his career, and he'll likely have a showdown with Federer in the semifinals if the pair get that far.
Against Berankis, look for Murray to get ahead early and coast, although the most decorated Lithuanian tennis player of all time isn't going to make things easy for his British counterpart.
He played well in the second round and smoked the competition, as the 22-year-old showed some quality ball-striking skills and fluid movement all over the court. It's going to be a tough test against Murray, especially in the wake of his recent success at the Olympics and personally against Djokovic.
Victoria Azarenka (1) vs. Jamie Hampton
The No. 1 seed on the women's side breezed through her second-round match against Eleni Daniilidou, finishing in straight sets in just 55 minutes on Thursday.
Now facing Hampton, the 23-year-old youngster from the United States, Azarenka appears on a crash course to face Caroline Wozniacki as she defends her first Grand Slam title as the No. 1 seed.
This is Hampton's first appearance past the second round in her Grand Slam career, and she drew the toughest matchup on the card. It will be a good learning experience as she continues to grow as a player, but Azarenka will be heavily favored as she tries to continue her title push.
Serena Williams (3) vs. Ayumi Morita
All eyes will be on Serena on Saturday, as she continues to battle an ankle injury in her pursuit of her 16th singles Grand Slam title.
She had a minor scare in the first round as she rolled her ankle and needed to be taped up, but continued on her torrid pace while finishing her match in straight sets—all in 53 minutes time.
Morita is a Japanese professional who reached the third round of this tournament in 2011—her farthest entry in a Grand Slam to date. Trying to reach the fourth round against the bigger, more physical Williams will be a challenge indeed, especially considering she's known as more of a skill player.
Serena no longer has to worry about the threat of sister Venus in the bottom of the bracket, and will focus on this third-round match as the next stepping stone to the title. It may not look like a battle of juggernauts on paper, but Williams brings enough star power for both players in most of her matches, and Saturday will be no different.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.