Ahead of the third-round matches at the 2016 Rogers Cup, wtatennis.com contributor Chris Oddo breaks down the chances of the last 16 standing in Montréal.
WTA Staff

MONTRÉAL, Canada - It's time for the sweet 16 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. We break down all eight round of 16 match-ups at wtatennis.com.

Thursday, Third Round

Central
[5] Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. [14] Karolina Pliskova (CZE #17)
Head-to-head:
Halep leads, 3-1
Key Stat: Halep is riding a six-match win streak and has won 10 of her last 11.
Back on her beloved hardcourts after a title run on clay in Romania, Simona Halep is looking to kick her season into a higher gear here in North America. Halep got the ball rolling quickly on Tuesday in Montréal, defeating Daria Gavrilova in commanding fashion to set up her fifth career meeting with hard-serving Karolina Pliskova. "Hard is my favorite surface, I can say, and I felt pretty well today on court," an enthused Halep said after her victory. "I'm really happy how I could win against her in my first match on hardcourts."

Pliskova snapped a personal three-match losing streak against Halep in Romania in early February, but to defeat her again she'll have to do it against a healthier, happier version of the Romanian, and one that has not lost since Wimbledon.

Pick: Halep in three

[4] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4) vs. [16] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #19)
Head-to-head:
Radwanska leads, 4-2
Key Stat: Radwanska improved to 20-4 on hardcourts this season with her win over Monica Niculescu on Wednesday.
The last time Agnieszka Radwanska visited Montréal, she came away with the 2014 Rogers Cup title. Two years on, the Pole is back and hungry to jump start her hardcourt campaign with another stellar effort. After easing past Monica Niculescu in straight sets on Wednesday, the World No.4 will set her sights on Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The 16th-seeded Russian is playing with house money in Montréal after saving a match point in the first round against Yulia Putintseva. On Wednesday the 25-year-old surged past Christina McHale in straight sets, making it six wins in her last seven matches. Can she pull the stunner and make it seven out of eight on Thursday?

Pick: Radwanska in three

[10] Madison Keys (USA #12) vs. [6] Venus Williams (USA #6)
Head-to-head:
Williams leads, 2-1
Key Stat: Thirty-one of Williams' 49 titles have been won on hardcourts.
Venus Williams has been playing scintillating tennis of late, having reached her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2010 at Wimbledon, but the 36-year-old appeared to be struggling with her serve on Wednesday in the late stages of her victory over Barbora Strycova. Though she won easily, Williams admitted that she had some "issues" with the stroke, but declined to elaborate further.

No matter whether Williams is healthy or hurting, 21-year-old Madison Keys knows she'll need to play a near-perfect match to defeat her. The rising American spoke about what she'll need to do to beat Williams after her straight-sets victory over Madison Brengle on Wednesday. "I think a big thing is knowing when to be aggressive and when to back off," she said. "She's obviously going to hit a lot of winners and a lot of good shots. I think kind of taking my chances when I have them, but not being over-eager about it is going to be a huge factor."

Pick: Keys in two

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN #42) vs. [Q] Kristina Kucova (SVK #121)
Head-to-head:
Bouchard leads, 1-0
Key Stat: World No.121, Kucova is the lowest-ranked player remaining in the draw.
Is it finally time for Eugenie Bouchard to shine on the home stage? Two years ago, just a few weeks after reaching the Wimbledon final, Bouchard came to her hometown and played like a shrinking violet against American Shelby Rogers. That was a disappointing performance for Bouchard and it was the beginning of a dark period on court that lasted for about a year.

But things are looking much rosier for the Canadian now, and after big wins over Lucie Safarova and Dominika Cibulkova here in Montréal, the 22-year-old looks poised to send the hometown faithful home happy yet again when she meets qualifier Kristina Kucova in the round of 16. But Kucova will come in on a high as well, having notched her first Top 10 win on Wednesday when she stunned Carla Suárez Navarro.

Pick: Bouchard in two

Banque Nationale
[7] Roberta Vinci (ITA #8) vs. Daria Kasatkina (RUS #33)
Head-to-head:
Vinci leads, 1-0
Key Stat: Kasatkina owns a 19-9 lifetime record on hardcourts at WTA-level events.
Roberta Vinci edged by her compatriot Camila Giorgi in three sets to set an enticing round of 16 clash with rising Russian Daria Kasatkina. The Italian has the experience on her side but the Russian held her own against Vinci in their previous encounter, taking her to a third-set tiebreaker before bowing out in Doha earlier this season.

Both players can do some damage on the hardcourts, so it is hard to tell who will have the advantage when they meet on Thursday. Will it be the big forehand and attacking presence of Vinci, or the silky smooth backhand and crafty angles of Kasatkina that hold sway?

Pick: Kasatkina in three

[9] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #11) vs. [12] Petra Kvitova (CZE #13)
Head-to-head:
Kvitova leads, 4-1
Key Stat:
Kuznetsova owns a 1-5 record against the Top 20 at the Rogers Cup.
Svetlana Kuznetsova has proven to her peers that she's a force to be reckoned with in 2016 by reaching the Top 10 for the first time in six years after Wimbledon. But a player is only as good as her last match on the WTA Tour, so the 31-year-old Russian will have to demonstrate her worth yet again on Thursday when she meets the ever dangerous Petra Kvitova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

It hasn't been a brilliant year by Kvitova's high standards but the Czech has been strong thus far in Canada, routinely dispatching Magda Linette and Andrea Petkovic while losing just nine games to reach the round of 16. Also working in Kvitova's favor is the fact that she's won all three of her matches on hardcourt against Kvitova. Can she make it four on Thursday?

Pick: Kuznetsova in three

[2] Angelique Kerber (GER #2) vs. [17] Elina Svitolina (UKR #20)
Head-to-head:
Kerber leads, 4-2
Key Stat:
Kerber has never been past the third round at the Rogers Cup.
Angelique Kerber came into Montréal nursing an elbow injury, but the World No.2 has received several days of treatment since last week's pullout at the Ericsson Open and looks to be fit here in Canada. Though she struggled past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Wednesday night, Kerber was able to get through the match unscathed, winning without her 'A' game.

On Thursday Kerber will need to find another level, as she'll be tested again when she faces 17th-seeded Elina Svitolina for the seventh time. Kerber owns the edge in their lifetime series, but the gritty Svitolina did notch back-to-back wins over Kerber on hardcourts in late 2014 and early 2015.

Pick: Kerber in three 

[15] Johanna Konta (GBR #14) vs. [LL] Varvara Lepchenko (USA #50)
Head-to-head:
first meeting
Key Stat: Konta's ranking wasn't good enough to gain direct acceptance at the Rogers Cup last year. This year she enters at No.14.
Red-hot Johanna Konta is in the midst of a career year, playing at a career-high ranking, fresh off her first WTA title and riding a six-match winning streak. Need we say more? The British No.1 eased past American Vania King in straight sets on Wednesday, and she'll look to reach her first Rogers Cup quarterfinal when she faces lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko.

Subbing in for late withdrawal Garbiñe Muguruza, an opportunistic Lepchenko reached the third round by working her way past British qualifier Naomi Broady in three sets on Tuesday. Facing the in-form Konta will be a tougher task for Lepchenko - she has lost 11 of her last 13 against the Top 20.

Pick: Konta in three