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Beyond the Baseline

Australian Open Day 5 matches to watch: Serena kicks off third round

Serena Williams No. 1 Serena Williams has dropped only six games through two matches. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The third round of the Australian Open starts Friday. That means seeds will finally begin to clash. Both favorites will be in action: No. 1 Serena Williams meets No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova, while three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic draws Denis Istomin (second night match, Rod Laver Arena).

Click here for the complete order of play. ESPN2′s coverage begins at 11 p.m. ET.

Serena Williams [1] vs. Daniela Hantuchova [31] (first match, Rod Laver Arena): A victory would give Williams a record 61 victories at the Australian Open. The five-time champion has lost just six games through her first two matches. Serena is 8-1 against Hantuchova, a 2008 semifinalist. Hantuchova's one win came at the 2006 Australian Open.

Samantha Stosur [17] vs. Ana Ivanovic [14] (first night match, Rod Laver Arena): On paper, this is the most anticipated and probably the most hotly contested match of the day, with two former Grand Slam champions trying to regain their top form. Stosur leads the head-to-head 4-3, including three victories in their last four matches. But Ivanovic won their most recent clash, a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory at the WTA Tournament of Champions in October. The winner will likely face Williams in the fourth round.

Li Na [4] vs. Lucie Safarova [26] (second match, Hisense Arena): Li has looked very good through her first two rounds but she's still had her wobbles, most notably against Belinda Bencic, who forced her into a second-set tiebreaker in the second round. Li is 6-1 against Safarova and hasn't lost since 2005.

Sam Querrey vs. Fabio Fognini [15] (night match, Margaret Court Arena): A second-round win over Ernests Gulbis was a huge confidence boost for Querrey, who is seeking his first fourth-round appearance at a major since the 2010 U.S. Open. This will be his first match against Fognini, the talented but inconsistent Italian who has already achieved a career-best result in Melbourne.

Tommy Robredo [17] vs. Richard Gasquet [9] (night match, Hisense Arena): One-handed backhands will be on display under the lights. Robredo has won two of their three-hard court meetings, but they haven't played since 2010. The winner gets Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round. Wawrinka got a walkover after Vasek Pospisil withdrew with a back injury.

Eugenie Bouchard [30] vs. Lauren Davis (second match, Show Court 3): Set the head-to-head records and rankings aside when two players of the same generation who faced each other in the junior ranks meet. There's a completely different psychology involved in these matches, with the underdog (Davis, in this case) keen on proving a point.

Casey Dellacqua vs. Zheng Jie (third match, Rod Laver Arena): This is a winnable match for Dellacqua, an Australian wild card ranked No. 120, who knocked out Kirsten Flipkens in the second round. The first singles match between Dellacqua and Zheng, a 2010 semifinalist, should be competitive.

Upset special: Florian Mayer vs. Jerzy Janowicz [20] (first match, Show Court 3): Janowicz has been scraping by on an injured foot through two rounds. Mayer has the type of unconventional game to make the hot-tempered Pole lose his head in the Aussie heat.
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