The 2014 Australian Open is moving into the third round on the fifth day of play, although the tournament hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
Temperatures breached 104 degrees Fahrenheit for three straight days and are expected to once again hit that mark on Friday before a much-needed respite of cool weather arrives this weekend.
Organizers will have to try and find a way to keep all fans and participants safe while also hoping to avoid more delays on what should be the final day of this intense heat wave.
Keep reading for viewing information, a condensed schedule and predictions for what should be nothing short of a thrilling Day 5 of the 2014 Australian Open.
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When (local): Friday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m.
When (U.S.): Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2, Tennis Channel
Live Stream: ESPN3
|Rod Laver Arena (7 p.m. ET)||Third Round|
|Serena Williams (USA) vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)|
|Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)|
|Rod Laver Arena (3 a.m. ET)||Third Round|
|Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)|
|Denis Istomin (UZB) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)|
|Margaret Court Arena (3 a.m. ET)||Third Round|
|Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Sam Querrey (USA)|
|Hisense Arena (7 p.m. ET)||Third Round|
|Angelique Kerber (GER) vs. Alison Riske (USA)|
|Na Li (CHN) vs. Lucie Safarova (CZE)|
|Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Damir Dzumhur (BIH)|
|Hisense Arena (3 a.m. ET)||Third Round|
|Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA)|
Matchups to Watch
Denis Istomin vs. Novak Djokovic 
This will be Djokovic’s fourth lifetime matchup with Istomin, and the world No. 1-ranked player currently holds a 3-0 edge over the challenger.
Djokovic is clearly hungry for a fourth-straight Australian Open title, as it would give him a record-setting fifth championship in the Open era—breaking his current tie with all-time greats Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.
Will Nole win the Australian Open this year?
Nole dominated his first two opponents in this Grand Slam, breezing by Lukas Lacko and Leonardo Mayer in straight sets to push his current winning streak to 23 matches. He hasn’t dropped a match since his heartbreaker in the 2013 US Open Final against Rafael Nadal.
The 26-year-old Serbian superstar shouldn’t have any issues against his Uzbek counterpart when they take to the court at Rod Laver Arena. The Djoker is at the top of his game right now, meaning he should be able to quickly dispatch his opponent and move on to the next round.
Prediction: Djokovic wins, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Serena Williams  vs. Daniela Hantuchova
As expected, the top-seeded Williams is obliterating the competition in the early stages of this Melbourne-based Grand Slam. The story should remain unchanged after she wraps up her Friday showdown with Hantuchova.
The American superstar is 8-1 lifetime against her Slovak opponent, including a recent six-match stretch of dominance that stems back from a third-round defeat to Hantuchova eight years ago in this very event.
While the 30-year-old Hantuchova won that 2006 Down Under battle in straight sets, she’ll be lucky if Williams concedes a game in this one. Serena has been flat-out destroying the opposition and has only lost six games over her first two matches.
Williams’ most recent win was her 60th all-time in the Australian Open, tying her with Margaret Court’s pre-Open record. However, she seemed more interested in discussing the impact the heat was having on her game with ESPN:
"I just try to hit a bunch of aces and a bunch of winners -- that's all you can do because it's too hot to get into long rallies," she said. "I kept waking up in the middle of the night last night just paranoid. I just wanted to stay hydrated. The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather. It can happen so easy."
Hopefully she can stay fit, finish out this match and advance to the next round.
Prediction: Williams wins, 6-1, 6-2.
Jeremy Chardy  vs. David Ferrer 
This should be one of the best matchups of the day. These two seeded foes will battle for the right to advance to the fourth round, with Ferrer having a major, historical edge in the head-to-head department.
The Spanish star has won four of the five meetings, with the most recent coming on grass at Wimbledon. They’ve split their two hard court showdowns, with Ferrer emerging victorious in the most matchup—a three-set battle at Indian Wells in 2009—while Chardy claimed a win in their first ever meeting, a three-set victory in Johannesburg in February 2009.
Chardy is used to being the underdog and was able to pull a major upset last year, defeating Juan Martin Del Potro to reach the quarterfinals of the Happy Slam.
However, Ferrer is a master at making his opponent work for every point and will turn this high-heat battle into one of attrition. Expect the winner to be the fitter player that can withstand the brutal temperatures for the longest.
Prediction: Ferrer wins, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3