Wimbledon Day 3: Matches to watch
WIMBLEDON -- Day 3 at Wimbledon sees a packed schedule, thanks to yesterday's rain delays that caused matches to be suspended left and right.
Here are the matches I'll be keeping an eye on as the day progresses:
Novak Djokovic vs. Ryan Harrison (fourth match, Centre Court): Chalk this up as another great test for Harrison, who should relish the opportunity to play on Centre Court. As much as his intensity can be a knock on him sometimes, it's hard not to like the fact that you never have to doubt Harrison's self-belief. So will playing in the Cathedral of Tennis keep Harrison's penchant for boiling over in check? I should think so. Harrison needs to serve well in order to have any chance here, but his confidence should be high on the grass after making the semifinals of Eastbourne just last week. From what I saw in Eastbourne, Ryan still struggles with his footing on grass, frequently slipping as he tries to recover wide. Chances are slim that he pulls off the upset today, but it'll be fun to watch.
Maria Sharapova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (second match, No. 1 Court): Can Pironkova pull off a major upset for the third straight year at Wimbledon? Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli were her victims in 2010 and Venus again in 2011. This year, Pironkova knocked out Aga Radwanska from Eastbourne, so it looks like she's still got it. Needless to say, this should be a good test for Sharapova, who will need to be on her toes to recognize and get to Pironkova's deceptive forehand slice. That shot is what's frustrated her opponents in the past.
Ekaterina Makarova vs. Angelique Kerber (fourth match, No. 2 Court): I always get nervous when I look at the draw to see where Makarova's landing. She plays the role of spoiler well and she's an accomplished grass court player. Kerber meanwhile seems unstoppable this year, having amassed a tour-leading 41 wins. She's a good bet to be the only player who could stop Sharapova before the final but this is still a tricky match. Kerber came out on top in their match in Eastbourne, winning fairly handily 6-2, 6-4.
Sloane Stephens vs. Petra Cetkovska (first match, Court 17): Great chance here for Sloane to make he fourth straight third round at a Slam. Cetkovska struggles with consistency, but when she's on she can hit a very big ball. She knocked out both Ana Ivanovic and Radwanska last year to make the fourth round, so she's clearly comfortable at Wimbledon.
Jamie Hampton vs. Heather Watson (first match, No. 2 Court): In her debut Wimbledon, Hampton scored her first career win on grass, upsetting No. 27 seed Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets. But she's reportedly playing with two bulging disks in her back and the low bounce on grass tends to exacerbate any and all core-related injuries. Her game, which features a good eye towards attacking the net is well-suited to the surface, but Watson's experience on grass should see her through. If the Brit does prevail, she'll be the first British woman to make the third round at Wimbledon in 10 years. Yes, it really has been that long. Courtney's Pet Picks: Roger Federer vs. Fabio Fognini (first match, Centre Court), Caroline Wozniacki vs. Tamira Paszek, (second match, Centre Court), Kim Clijsters vs. Andrea Hlavackova (third match, Centre Court), Agnieszka Radwanska (second match, No. 3 Court), Michael Russell vs. Julien Benneteau (third match, Court 12), and Jerzy Janowicz vs. Ernests Gulbis (second match, Court 17), because "Jerzy Janowicz" is quickly becoming my favorite name in the world.