AO Friday: Sam & Ana Square Off
Published January 16, 2014 12:11
MELBOURNE, Australia - Samantha Stosur will take on fellow former Grand Slam winner Ana Ivanovic in the third round of the Australian Open, with the victor playing the winner of the Serena Williams-Daniela Hantuchova tilt.
Friday, Third Round
Rod Laver Arena
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #14) vs.  Samantha Stosur (AUS #17)
Head-to-head: Stosur leads 4-3
Samantha Stosur will once again face a success story from one of this year's pre-Australian Open events. Her first round victim in Melbourne was Hobart runner-up Klara Zakopalova, she then beat Sydney champion Tsvetana Pironkova and now takes on Auckland winner Ana Ivanovic as she looks to become the first Australian player to make the fourth round here since she got that far in 2010.
Ivanovic is bidding to reach the fourth round here for the third consecutive year and the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the eighth time in the last nine majors. She has a solid record in Grand Slam third rounds at 17-9. In her last clash with Stosur, Ivanovic snapped a three-match losing streak in their series late last season in Sofia. She also is 2-1 in their Grand Slam matches, though Stosur got the best of the Serb in their lone Australian Open clash in 2006 and is 4-1 in their hardcourt matches.
"It's no secret that it's going to be a tough match," Ivanovic said. "I had two tough matches last year against Sam. I lost one, won one. She's a tough player and has a very strong game. I will have to raise my level in order to beat her."
 Serena Williams (USA #1) vs.  Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #33)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 8-1
A win over Daniela Hantuchova would be Serena Williams' 61st at the Australian Open, breaking a tie with Margaret Court for most of the Open Era. She also will tie Lindsay Davenport's Open Era Australian Open record by playing her 69th match here. On top of that, she is in the midst of a 24-match win streak, the second-longest of her career and is 335-18 against those outside the Top 30 in her career.
Though Williams has dominated her series with Hantuchova, the Slovak did win their one previous Australian Open clash in the third round in 2006. She is looking for her second win over a reigning World No.1, having beaten Caroline Wozniacki at the French Open in 2011. She will certainly be at a disadvantage in terms of match fatigue, as she has spent five hours, 47 minutes on court (including a three-hour, 13-minute marathon in her second round win over Karolina Pliskova) and Williams has been on court just two hours while surrendering just six games.
Zheng Jie (CHN #56) vs. [WC] Casey Dellacqua (AUS #120)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Casey Dellacqua is taking advantage of the opportunity she was awarded when she won the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff tournament in December. She disposed of former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva in the first round here and World No.19 Kirsten Flipkens in the second round for her seventh Top 20 win, five of those having occurred in Grand Slam play. A defeat of Zheng Jie would put her into the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time, having first done so here in 2008. Regardless of the outcome, Dellacqua is projected to return to the Top 100 for the first time in over a year.
Zheng's first round triumph over Roberta Vinci was her 23rd Top 15 win and her 50th Grand Slam win. Coming off a three set victory over Madison Keys in the second round, the 2010 Australian Open semifinalist and former World No.15 is aiming to improve to 4-1 in third round matches here.
Around the grounds…
No.4 seed Li Na looks for her seventh straight win in her series with Lucie Safarova, No.9 seed Angelique Kerber plays Alison Riske and Ekaterina Makarova takes on Monica Niculescu.