Wimbledon Day 6 preview: Serena and Kimiko Date-Krumm turn back the clock
Serena Williams takes on Kimiko Date-Krumm in a throwback: Date-Krumm's last appearance in the third round was 1996, when Madison Keys was one year old, the Macarena was the Billboard year-end No. 1 single and Steffi Graf won Wimbledon. That also happened to be the year Date-Krumm made the semifinals, where she lost to Graf in three sets. She would then take a 12-year break from the tour before returning in 2008. Now, at 42, she'll face the world No. 1 (fourth match, No. 1 Court) in their first meeting.
"I played with Venus two years ago here, and this year in Miami," Date-Krumm said after her second-round win. "But, of course, Venus and Serena is a big difference. [Serena] has more power and she has more, of course, speed. She has confidence. She has everything. So I need to try, just try my best. I hope I can stay more than one hour," she said with a smile.
This match will probably be one-way traffic, with Serena overpowering Date-Krumm and destroying the timing on her very flat strokes. That said, Date-Krumm's second loss to Venus two years ago here was one of the best women's matches in recent memory, with her throwback game wreaking havoc before she lost 6-7 (8), 6-3, 8-6. Regardless of the result, the fact that Date-Krumm is still competing alongside the best thanks to a renewed passion for the game is a great story.
Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens resume their matches in some trouble: Kvitova and Stephens have a great chance to make the final now that the bottom half of the draw has been riddled with upsets, but they'll have to avoid being upset themselves first. Both had third-round matches suspended Friday because of darkness, and the stoppages came right as each was struggling.
Stephens stole the first set from the big-hitting Petra Cetkovska, who played a poor tiebreaker. It wasn't a convincing performance, though, and that showed in the second, when Cetkovska bageled the 20-year-old American. So it will be a one-set shootout on No. 3 Court on Saturday (second match) to determine the winner.
As for Kvitova, she's down a break in the third to fellow lefty Ekaterina Makarova, who leads 3-6, 6-2, 2-1. It will resume as the first match on No. 1 Court.
Grass-court specialists gun for Week 2: Who says surface specialists are dead? Tsvetana Pironkova and Alison Riske, both unseeded, have experienced almost all their career success on grass, and they'll try and keep it going in two very winnable matches. Pironkova, who has twice knocked Venus out of this tournament, takes on Petra Martic (second match, Court 14). Riske, who has never won a tour-level main-draw match on any surface other than grass, plays Kaia Kanepi (third match, Court 14).
Matches to watch
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Madison Keys (third match, No. 3 Court): Their last meeting was one Keys would like to forget -- and Radwanska doesn't remember it all. It happened last year in the second round of Miami, where Radwanska dusted the teen 6-1, 6-1. "That was just a frustrating day," Keys said. "I think in the second set I was just happy to not get bageled. Definitely going to try to do better this time." Radwanska will test Keys' patience, and much of this match will turn on the young American's serve.
Laura Robson vs. Marina Erakovic (second match, No. 2 Court): Could it be? Britain is one Robson win away from putting a woman into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time since Sam Smith in 1998. The Brit is the higher ranked of the two, but she has a tough task against Erakovic, who has a great serve and beat Robson in three sets last year in Birmingham. Between the mounting pressure from the British faithful and the wrinkle of the two being good friends off the court, there are a lot of mental obstacles for Robson here. Feliciano Lopez vs. No. 13 Tommy Haas (third match, No. 2 Court): One-handed backhand lovers rejoice. Lopez is on an eight-match winning streak on grass after taking the Eastbourne title last week. If there's moisture in the air, the slicker courts will favor his serve-and-volley game. He's never won a set in meetings against Haas, who is trying to make the fourth round for the first time since he was a semifinalist in 2009.