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Wimbledon: Day 5 Preview

The remaining players in the bottom half of the draw play their third round matches on Friday.

Published June 25, 2010 12:00

Wimbledon: Day 5 Preview
Nadia Petrova

LONDON, United Kingdom - It's the first Friday of The Championships, and thanks to splendid weather all week, the third round gets underway as scheduled. Watch out as the seeds - and a few surprise packets - collide.

Centre Court
[12] Nadia Petrova (RUS #14) vs. [17] Justine Henin (BEL #16)
H2H:
Henin leads 13-2
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Henin (7-0/52-10)… Petrova (3-1/42-21)
Petrova was, of course, the spoiler in Kim Clijsters' Australian Open campaign last January, and what an awesome performance that was. Since then the 28-year-old's game has been in rude health: the 185 aces she has struck this season is second only to Sam Stosur's, and she has reached five quarterfinals, including both Slams and three Premier-level events. She certainly has the weapons, and the experience, to give Henin trouble - indeed it will probably be her level of play that is key to the outcome. Curiously, the Belgian has been talking down her own title prospects at these Championships, but Petrova can be sure that as long as they are on court, Henin won't give an inch.

No.1 Court
[26] Alisa Kleybanova (RUS #27) vs. [2] Venus Williams (USA #2)
H2H:
Tied 1-1
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Kleybanova (2-1/14-6)…Williams (2-0/70-10)
Kleybanova made her name with flashy wins on major stages, and indeed her 3-2 career record against Top 5 players is a stat some higher-ranked players would kill for. The win over Venus came at Madrid last year, 7-5 in the third set, which is evidence she can tough out nail-biters against big names, not just blast them off court. That said, although she won her first Tour title at Kuala Lumpur earlier in the year - beating Elena Dementieva in the final - the 20-year-old has hit something of a plateau - her Top 20 debut is starting to feel a little overdue. This may not be the easiest place to re-stake her claim to stardom, but Venus will be taking the threat very seriously indeed.

Court 2
[28] Alona Bondarenko (UKR #30) vs. [4] Jelena Jankovic (SRB #3)
H2H:
Jankovic leads 10-1
Grass W-L record (2010/career): Bondarenko (2-0/22-16)… Jankovic (2-0/33-15)
Bondarenko and Jankovic are meeting in the third round at a third consecutive major. While Jankovic has certainly had the edge in their rivalry overall, Bondarenko shook things up with her defeat of the Serb at the Australian Open - which led to what was, rather surprisingly, her first fourth round run at a Grand Slam. In short, the 25-year-old can beat just about anyone, but also lose to just about anyone. For her part, Jankovic was given a mighty jolt by Aleksandra Wozniak earlier this week, but otherwise has every reason to be confident, back at No.3 for the first time since March last year. This is the only Slam where she's yet to reach the semis, and she'd dearly love to rectify that.

More to watch: Eighth seed Clijsters opens proceedings on Court 2 against No.27 seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia. Having seen off all the seeds in their section of the draw, Bulgaia's Tsvetana Pironkova and Russia's Regina Kulikova face off on Court 5. Yanina Wickmayer, the No.15 seed, and No.21 seed Vera Zvonareva face off on Court 12, after No.11 seed Marion Bartoli players Hungarian veteran Greta Arn, a qualifier.

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