The Top 3 on Day 3
1. Maria Sharapova v Tsvetana Pironkova
Sharapova faces a potentially tricky second round match against Pironkova. The Bulgarian has had a largely ineffective year so far, but always comes alive for the grass court season. She has made the semi-finals and quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the last two years and will certainly pose some questions to the world number one. Pironkova struggled to get past Vesna Dolonc in the first round, meanwhile Sharapova made a confident start with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Anastasia Rodionova. I think Pironkova will start well, but I fancy Sharapova to have enough power to blast through the tricky Bulgarian’s game in straight sets.
Prediction – Sharapova to beat Pironkova in 2 sets
2. Ekaterina Makarova v Angelique Kerber
Kerber did extremely well to put the memories of the Eastbourne final (where she wasted five match points) behind her and claim a straight set win over Lucie Hradecka in round one. She will now play the big serving, Ekaterina Makarova who eased past Alberta Brianti in the first round. Kerber and Makarova last played in Eastbourne where Kerber won comfortably although Makarova had a terrible day at the office in that one. This will be a tough match for the German, but she continues to shine in 2012 and I have faith in her to keep the wins coming
Prediction – Kerber to beat Makarova in 3 sets
3. Heather Watson v Jamie Hampton
Heather Watson was the first British woman to win on Centre Court since 1985 and she did it in style with some super serving and aggressive groundstrokes against Iveta Benesova. The draw has now opened up for her because Jamie Hampton staged an upset in the first round by beating Daniela Hantuchova, who is struggling to pick up her form following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Hampton has an interesting game and is not afraid to throw in the slice and come into the net. She will be a challenge for Watson, but I thinkthe Brit’s exploits on the grass over the last couple of the weeks and the home crowd will get her into the 3rd round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
Prediction – Watson to beat Hampton in 2 sets
Best of the Rest – Womens Draw
Agnieszka Radwanska will be breathing a sigh of relief that she will not have to take on Venus Williams in the second round although Elena Vesnina will be no walk in the park… upset anyone? I also think Sam Stosur will have to be at her best to avoid falling to Arantxa Rus tomorrow. Li Na plays Sorana Cirstea who she thumped at Roland Garros, meanwhile Kim Clijsters takes on Andrea Hlavackova. Sabine Lisicki will have her hands full with Bojana Jovanovski although if she has her head in check that should be a straightforward match.
In two interesting matches involving seeds, Petra Cetkovska will play Sloane Stephens and Nadia Petrova takes on Timea Babos. Stephens enjoyed an easy first round win over Karolina Pliskova and has a great chance of an upset win over Cetkovska. Babos has struggled for wins in recent months, but has a terrific game for the grass and showed that in a three set win over Melanie Oudin. She now plays my dark horse tip in Nadia Petrova, who was on fire in her 6-0 6-2 first round win over Maria Camerin.
Rus to beat Stosur in 3 sets
Li to beat Cirstea in 2 sets
Lisicki to beat Jovanovski in 2 sets
Vesnina to beat Radwanska in 3 sets
Best of the Rest – Mens Draw
The best match on the mens side is probably the one at the top of the draw where Novak Djokovic plays the rising American, Ryan Harrison. Harrison has the capability to get a set off Djokovic, but no more in my opinion. Roger Federer takes on Fabio Fognini, meanwhile Janko Tipsarevic plays Ryan Sweeting in the second round. Ernests Gulbis and Alejandro Falla will look to back up big first round wins tomorrow; Gulbis takes on Jerry Janowicz, which is a highly winnable match although anything is possible with Gulbis. Falla will play Nicolas Mahut in what is a wide open section that also includes Denis Istomin and Igor Andreev; one of those four men will make the 4th round.
Djokovic to beat Harrison in 4 sets
Federer to beat Fognini in 3 sets
Tipsarevic to beat Sweeting in 3 sets
Simon to beat Malisse in 4 sets