Roger Federer will return Centre Court on Friday hoping to avoid the fate that befell Rafael Nadal.
[Paul Gilham/Getty Images]
Roger Federer vs. Julien Benneteau (third match, Centre Court): Well geez, after what happened on Thursday evening I think we can all agree that no one is safe. The last time these two played, Benneteau pulled off a memorable win in front a hometown crowd at the Paris Masters in 2009 and the Frenchman plays an attacking game that's perfectly suited for grass. As for Federer, how will he respond now that Rafael Nadal, his greatest rival and the man who always seems to have his number, is out of the tournament? A dominant performance here puts him in right in the driver seat as the favorite to win the tournament.
Vera Zvonareva vs. Kim Clijsters (third match, No. 1 Court): Any Kim Clijsters match is a match to watch these days, as her farewell tour continues at Wimbledon. I'll be honest, I didn't think Kim would get to the third round when the tournament began but she's been good through her first two matches and she's coming across a Zvonareva who has been struggling mightily with both form and injury. Clijsters' 7-3 lead in their head-to-head is somewhat enlightening but it goes out the window for these two. They're such different players at such different stages in their careers right now that this one is tough to predict. At her best Zvonareva can challenge anyone. The problem is that she hasn't been at her best for quite some time.
Sam Querrey vs. Milos Raonic (first match, No. 1 Court): This match was suspended for light on Thursday with the two big servers splitting the first two sets via tiebreaks and dead even at 3-3 in the third. It could be more of the same when the match resumes on Friday afternoon, as very little has separated the men so far. This will be a good test for Raonic and real test of Querrey's competitive fibre. Raonic has been a little bit better than him in every department. Maybe a night's rest will shake things up.
Sloane Stephens vs. Sabine Lisicki (first match, No. 3 Court): Big, huge, massive opportunity for Sloane here as Lisicki, a semi-finalist last year, has been struggling. The German eeked out a tight win over Bojana Jovanovski in the second round, winning 8-6 in the third set, while Stephens upset the No. 26 seed, Petra Cetkovska in three to make the second round of her fourth straight Slam. A win here would match her best Slam result, making the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year. Stephens won their only encounter, at an ITF tournament in 2011 on clay.
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Heather Watson (second match, Centre Court): Radwanska has quietly made it through two rounds while beating some quality opposition, Magdalena Rybarikova (a solid grasscourter) and Elena Vesnina (who upset Venus Williams). She has yet to drop a set at the Championships and she'll go up against the woman playing the rather uncomfortable role of the only British woman left in the tournament. I like Watson's chances to pull off the upset here but it will require her to keep her nerves in-check, a tough thing to do when you're playing in front of the home crowd on Centre Court.
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