2011 Australian Open: 5 Key Story Lines to Watch on Day 5
The championship match of the 2006 French Open final saw Belgium's Justine Henin crush Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova for the title. The same results happened for the 2007 US Open title.
However, it has no chance to happen at this year's Australian Open since the two players will face off in a third round match at Rod Laver Arena.
Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Andrea Petkovic—our introduction slide picture—and Venus Williams will also highlight day 5 at Melbourne Park.
No. 11 Justine Henin (BEL) vs. No. 23 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
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This match sounds worthy of a Grand Slam final—not only because both players have met before at this stage, but also because it has the potential to be a great match.
The matchup, which sees former Grand Slam champions go head to head, is highly in favor of Henin.
Of course, the Australian Open is historically Kuznetsova's worst Grand Slam event, as she has just two quarterfinal appearances in the tournament. Henin, on the other hand, plays much better at Melbourne Park, as she won the event back in 2004.
Moreover, the native of St. Petersburg, Russia has rarely found the keys to beat the Belgian. The players have met a total of 18 times, and Kuznetsova has just two wins in their history.
No. 4 Venus Williams (USA) vs. No. 30 Andrea Petkovic (GER)
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Germany's Andrea Petkovic is a rising star in the WTA Tour. The tennis world has been praying for her results to improve. On Thursday she will have an opportunity to make even more headlines when she takes on Venus Williams.
Her come-from-behind blitz of Marion Bartoli in the Brisbane semis proved she can play well under pressure. She'll relish the opportunity to play a legend under the lights with a place in the second week at stake.
Venus needed every ounce of her champion's valor to make it past Sandra Zahlavova in the last round, and it is unclear how much of a factor her stomach muscle strain will be.
If the Darmstadt resident finds herself in a winning position, the trick will be to not think about it too much—or want it too much. Such thoughts in a Grand Slam match have brought her undone in the past, and a sliver of doubt is all Venus will need.
Williams and Petkovic have never met before.
No. 2 Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Xavier Malisse (BEL)
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Another record is in sight for one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen.
Roger Federer’s second-round win over former world No. 6 Gilles Simon means he has equalled Sweden's Stefan Edberg’s record for the most Open Era wins at the Australian Open.
Federer has a 56-7 win-loss record going into his third-round match; Edberg ended his career with a 56-10 win-loss record at Melbourne Park. If Federer wins today, he will move ahead of the Swedish champion and hold the top spot independently.
Winning such an epic match against the Frenchman on Wednesday will boost Federer's confidence. Maybe this match will turn out to be the turning point of the tournament if the man from Switzerland goes on to win the Australian Open.
On the other side of the net, Xavier Malisse is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the first time in his career.
This is the Belgium's 10th straight Australian Open. He has reached the third round here for the first time since 2003 to equal his best result at Melbourne Park.
The 30-year old veteran is a very talented player. He could have been a world No. 1 player if he had better luck with his career.
Malisse’s best Grand Slam performance is a semifinal finish at 2002 Wimbledon.
The Kortrijk native will have to play the match of his life if he wants to improve his record against the world No. 2. The two players have met eight times in the past, with Federer winning seven of their meetings.
No. 8 Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Robin Haase (NED)
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It will be the first meeting between Roddick and Haase.
The former world No. 1 has reached the third round here for the ninth consecutive year. He defeated Jan Hajek 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round and Igor Kunitsyn 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the second, showing great form again.
The Austin resident's best result in Melbourne is semifinal finishes in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Roddick played earlier this month at Brisbane, where as defending champion he lost to Robin Söderling 6-3, 7-5 in the final.
Haase has a similar game to Roddick, but the Dutchman's serve is not as effective as A-Rod's.
The Hague native has reached the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. His previous best performance here—and at a Grand Slam—is reaching the second round as a qualifier in 2008. He also reached the second round at 2010 Wimbledon, where he put up great resistance against Rafael Nadal.
No. 12 Gaël Monfils (FRA) vs. No. 19 Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
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Monfils vs. Wawrinka will be the night session match at Rod Laver Arena.
The Frenchman advanced to the third round here for the fourth time after defeating Thiemo de Bakker in the first round and Frederico Gil in the second.
The 24-year-old's first-round victory was the first time in his career that he had come back from two sets down to win.
In his sixth Australian Open, Monfils is bidding to reach the round of 16 and equal his best result here. He also reached the round of 16 here in 2009.
The Paris native is a great mover around the court. The surface—a slow hard court—suits his game well. On his day he could beat anyone.
On the other side of the net, Stanislas Wawrinka is bidding to reach the round of 16 for the first time in Melbourne. He advanced to the third round here for the fourth time after defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili and qualifier Grigor Dimitrov in the opening two rounds.
The St. Barthelemy resident also reached this stage in 2007 and 2009. But his best result at a Grand Slam came at last year’s US Open, when he reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in his 23rd major appearance.
The Swiss is a good shot-maker, but he has been living in the shadow of his idol Roger Federer for most of his career.
The tall Frenchman leads the 25-year-old 2-1 in their head-to-head meetings.