Wimbledon: 3rd Round Predictions for Day 5

The Top 4 on Day 5
Heather Watson
1. Agnieszka Radwanska v Heather Watson
From a British angle, this is my number one match on Friday as the young Brit, Heather Watson takes on the world number three, Agnieszka Radwanska.  Watson is the first British woman to make the third round at Wimbledon in ten years and has played some excellent tennis up to this stage; even better is that she is doing it with a smile on her face and you cannot help but warm to her.  Radwanska enjoyed a routine second round win over Elena Vesnina and her draw has opened up dramatically paving the way for a potential first ever Grand Slam semi-final.  Watson will be no walkover, but Radwanska has a way of drawing errors from her opponent and has more experience at this stage of a Grand Slam…
Prediction – Radwanska to beat Watson in 2 sets

2. Nicolas Almagro v Richard Gasquet
The most intriguing 3rd round mens match will be a battle of the one-handed backhands between Nicolas Almagro and Richard Gasquet.  The Frenchman has sailed through his first two rounds for the loss of no sets, meanwhile Almagro has surrendered three sets so far and most notably coming from two sets down in his opener with Olivier Rochus.  Almagro has been improving on all surfaces and will be no pushover in this encounter although I give the edge to Gasquet if he can hold his nerve.
Prediction – Gasquet to beat Almagro in 4 tight sets

3. Vera Zvonareva v Kim Clijsters
Two players who have suffered injury-plagued 2012’s will square off in a rematch of the 2010 Wimbledon quarter-final.  Kim Clijsters has looked fighting fit so far with no signs that she has been hampered by an abdominal injury that forced her to pull out of her semi-final in s’Hertogenbosch last week.  Zvonareva too has played little tennis this year, but she has done remarkably well in reaching the third round with three set wins over Mona Barthel and Silvia Soler Espinosa.  Zvonareva has won three of the last five encounters with Clijsters including that 2010 Wimbledon quarter-finalist; however her level has dropped considerably from when she reached a peak of world number two so I think this will be plain sailing for Kimmy…
Prediction – Clijsters to beat Zvonareva in 2 sets

4. Roger Federer v Julien Benneteau
Roger Federer has looked in majestic form so far and has never looked more at home on his favourite surface.  His opponent will be a big step up from the last round in the big serving, Julien Benneteau.  Benneteau beat Michael Russell in 4 sets in his second round match and has the weapons to at least test Federer.  I fancy a tight first set, but Federer to stroll through the last two and into the 4th round…
Prediction – Federer to beat Benneteau in 3 sets

Best of the rest: Womens
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova faces another in-form opponent in Hsieh Su-Wei although it should be a comparatively easier match compared to her second round match with Tsvetana Pironkova.  She saved five set points in the first set and then had a serving meltdown in the second set tiebreak before storming through the final set to win, 7-6 6-7 6-0.  A big test like this early on is only going to make Sharapova stronger in this tournament…
The two other matches in the first quarter are both ones to watch out for with Sloane Stephens playing Sabine Lisicki, and Angelique Kerber taking on Christina McHale.  Lisicki won an epic three setter against Bojana Jovanovski, 8-6 in the third and faces an even bigger challenge in Stephens who had a tough three set win over Petra Cetkovska in the last round.  McHale and Kerber’s last match went the distance with Kerber saving match points so I expect another close one there.

WTA Predictions
Sharapova to beat Hsieh in 2 sets
Stephens to beat Lisicki in 3 sets
Kerber to beat McHale in 3 sets
Petrova to beat Giorgi in 2 tight sets
Cirstea to beat Kirilenko in 3 sets

Rus to beat Peng in 2 sets

Best of the rest: Mens
The top half of the mens draw looks considerably less appealing compared to the bottom half providing a slight headache for the schedulers; on Wednesday they even put two womens matches on number one court! The match between Mikhail Youzhny and Janko Tipsarevic should at least be entertaining with both having explosive games; I fancy a potential upset in that one.

The world number one, Novak Djokovic was in impressive form in his second round win over Ryan Harrison and should be untroubled by Radek Stepanek in the third round.  Xavier Malisse who upset Giles Simon today has the ammunition to continue the upsets as he plays Fernando Verdasco in the third round.

ATP Predictions
Djokovic to beat Stepanek in 3 sets
Monaco to beat Troicki in 4 sets
Mayer to beat Janowicz in 4 sets
Malisse to beat Verdasco in 5 sets
Istomin to beat Falla in 4 sets

Youzhny to beat Tipsarevic in 5 sets

You can view my original predictions for the mens and womens draw, which have both taken some big hits! I nearly lost two of my womens semi-finalists, but Petrova hung in to beat Timea Babos 9-7 in the third set and avoided the same fate of Marion Bartoli who lost 6-4 6-2 to Mirjana Lucic.

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