Wimbledon Day 5 matches to watch: Ex-champs Kvitova, Venus face off
LONDON -- Here are the matches to watch on Day 5 of Wimbledon. Play begins on the outer courts at 6:30 a.m. ET and at 8 a.m. on Centre Court and Court 1. ESPN's live coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET. Click here for the order of play, and see the full TV schedule here.
Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams face off (Second match, Centre Court): Williams has not advanced to the fourth round of a major since Wimbledon in 2011. That just happens to be the same year Kvitova won the tournament for her only major title (so far). The last time Kvitova failed to make the quarterfinals or better at Wimbledon was in 2009 when she was 19 years old and ranked No. 61. The two former champs face off on Centre Court and it should be a barn burner. Given their form and opposite trajectories here at their best and most favored tournaments, the odds are decidedly in the Czech's favor. Kvitova leads the head-to-head 3-1 but all four of their matches -- all on hard court -- went the full three sets, with the last two ending in third set tiebreakers. Earlier this year at the Qatar Open, Kvitova came through to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7).
Here's how that tiebreaker played out:
It's no secret by now that Kvitova is one of the most talented yet unreliable players in women's tennis. Which version of Kvitova shows up on Friday will determine the outcome of the match. She looked incredibly sharp in her 6-2, 6-0 win over Mona Barthel in the second round and she's lost just five games through two matches, while Williams has had to scrap through two tough matches to make the third round.
Andy Murray faces his first big test against No. 27 seed Roberto Bautista Agut (Third match, Centre Court): Bautista Agut is probably the best tennis player you haven't heard of. The Spaniard was ranked as low as No. 73 this year and he's shot up to No. 23 in just six months, thanks to big wins over Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych. He won his first title just last week on the grass in Holland and he's on a seven-match win streak on the green stuff. Unlike most Spaniards, he hits the ball big and flat and his game excels on quicker surfaces. But Murray will know this. He's practiced a ton with Bautista Agut and knows how dangerous he can be. This is their first meeting.
Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandr Dolgopolov will put on a shot-making clinic (Second match, Court 1): Dimitrov has been clinical through his first two rounds. He hasn't lost a set and he hasn't looked too bothered either, beating Luke Saville and Ryan Harrison. Twenty-first seed Dolgopolov has looked good too, beating big-serving Sam Groth in straight sets and Benjamin Becker in four sets. In his win over Becker he fired a incredible 42 aces to just one double fault, hitting 84 winners over the course of four sets. The speed and creativity these two offer should be fun. They've split their two matches, with Dolgopolov winning on outdoor hard court and Dimitrov winning indoors.
Li Na tries to avoid the upset (First match, Court 1): The No. 2 seed plays one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw in Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. The Czech is ranked No. 43 but she's full of confidence on grass after making a run to the Birmingham final two weeks ago. She routed No. 32 Elena Vesnina in her second round match, winning 6-4, 6-2. The tricky part for Li is that unlike her Czech opponent, she's still trying to find her confidence on grass. If she falls behind early she'll be in big trouble. Li has won their two matches but they haven't played each other since 2011.
Get a closer look at 16-year-old Ana Konjuh (First match, Court 3): The Croatian teenager is the real deal. She won the junior title at the Australian Open and U.S. Open last year and her easy power is hard to miss. Ranked No. 189, she won three matches in qualifying to reach the main draw and then notched two quality wins, beating Marina Erakovic and Yanina Wickmayer. En route to a three-set win over Wickmayer, Konjuh powered down 16 aces. She'll need all that power when she takes the court against Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki's consistency and defense should win the day but tune in to see why everyone is keeping an eye on the teen.