Australian Open Day 4 Preview
Published January 18, 2012 04:48
Thursday, Second Round
Rod Laver Arena
Jelena Dokic (AUS #64) vs.  Marion Bartoli (FRA #9)
Head-to-head: Bartoli leads 1-0
Kicking off Thursday's evening session on the Rod Laver Arena is the match-up between home favorite Jelena Dokic and one of the outsiders for the title, Marion Bartoli. After Sam Stosur's shock early exit, and Casey Dellacqua and Olivia Rogowska's defeats on Wednesday, Dokic is the last Australian representative left in the singles draw and will start as clear underdog against the World No.9. Bartoli enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2011 - winning two titles and re-establishing herself in the Top 10 - and, with No.6 seed Stosur now absent from her quarter, will be confident on building on that success this fortnight. The pair's only previous meeting came just last week, when Bartoli won a one-sided affair in Sydney 60 63. However, Dokic, who impressed in her first round victory over Anna Chakvetadze, is a mercurial talent and, if she can harness the emotions of the partisan Melbourne crowd, has the ability to trouble the No.9 seed.
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP #58) vs.  Petra Kvitova (CZE #2)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads 2-0
Petra Kvitova, the WTA's form player, continues her quest to usurp Caroline Wozniacki as world No.1 with a seemingly routine match against Carla Suárez Navarro. The Spaniard, who suffered back-to-back first round exits in her two pre-Australian Open tune-up events, is struggling for form and has not been beyond the second round of a tournament since September. While her chances of arresting this slump against Kvitova appear slim, Suárez Navarro does have a history of upsetting the status quo at majors - she came through qualifying to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2008 and the following year defeated Venus Williams en route to the last eight in Melbourne. If she makes a fast start and prevents Kvitova from establishing a rhythm, her wily game, allied with her opponent's propensity to blow hot and cold, could help lay the foundations for an upset. However, against a player who has won 19 of her last 20 matches, that is a big if.
Show Court 2
 Sabine Lisicki (GER #15) vs. Shahar Peer (ISR #34)
Head-to-head: tied 2-2
Sabine Lisicki was one of the success stories of 2011, returning from an injury-plagued couple of years to win two WTA titles and break into the world's Top 20 for the first time. Contrastingly, Shahar Peer, her second round opponent, endured a frustrating campaign, characterized by a string of early tournament defeats and a plummeting ranking. However, last week, the first green shoots of recovery started to appear for the former World No.11, as she reached just her second semifinal since the end of 2010 in Hobart. Peer carried this form into her opening match in Melbourne, defeating wildcard Isabella Holland in under an hour. Lisicki's progress into the second round was less serene - she hit 55 unforced errors in a scrappy 62 46 64 win over Stefanie Voegele - and the big-hitting German could be in for another long afternoon if she produces a similarly error-strewn display.
Around the grounds...
Former champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova should have few difficulties against their respective opponents on Rod Laver, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Jamie Hampton. On Margaret Court, Vera Zvonareva, one of last year's semifinalists, takes on Lucie Hradecka, while out on Court 13 tournament dark horse Kaia Kanepi meets Ekaterina Makarova. Also in action on the outside courts will be Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik as the doubles competition gets underway at Melbourne Park.