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Five to Follow on Day Four

Serena Williams serves in her First Round match.
by Nicholas McCarvel
Thursday 27 June 2013

Could anything top the Wednesday that was at Wimbledon? Probably not. But Day Four at The Championships will no doubt be a thrilling one with both top seeds in action and a host of developing storylines to keep an eye on. We pick five you can't miss.

Serena, Novak Try to Restore Order
Memo to Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic: no seed is safe in round two. Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga learned that the hard way on Wednesday, all crashing out in the second round. Djokovic and Williams both have relatively easy tasks at hand on paper, the men's No.1 taking on American journeyman Bobby Reynolds and the women's No.1 meeting up with up-and-coming French youngster Caroline Garcia, a player she swept aside with ease less than a month ago at Roland Garros. It would be easy to predict routine wins for two of the sport's best, but after Wednesday, little feels routine around these parts...

The New Order vs. The Old Guard
James Blake was once the world No.4 and has three times been to the quarter-finals at a major. He faces off against the youngest player remaining in the men's draw, Australian Bernard Tomic, in what could be a tug-of-war second round encounter on the public stage, Court 18. This was the same place John Isner and Nicolas Mahut made history with the longest match of all time, and though Blake-Tomic doesn't spell 11-hour epic to start, the firing games they both bring to the grass - Blake with his booming forehand and Tomic with his flat, off-pace approach - could spell out an entertainer. Tomic looks to re-capture the form that brought him to the Wimbledon quarter-finals two years ago, but can his 33-year-old opponent stop him?

Laura's Next Act
Two days after she became the only British woman to climb into the second round, 19-year-old Laura Robson will try to gain a place in the third round against a Colombian named Mariana Duque-Marino, a clay-court specialist with little tracking on grass. But this is the most dangerous of opportunities for the British hope: she beat world No.10 Maria Kirilenko in the first round, and now faces with the opportunity - and the expectation - to make a run at her home Slam. Should her game be on - that big, lefty serve and complmentary forehand - the 2008 junior champ should run through this, but things are never as easy on No.2 Court - the former Graveyard of Champions - as they seem.

Where to Next?
Three matches are "TBD" on Thursday's schedule - To Be Determined, if you needed clarification - and all of them are must-watches for Wimbledon goers. Top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan continue their quest for an historic calendar-year Grand Slam in men's doubles after winning at both the Australian and French Opens. They play their first match of The Championships on a court to be named tomorrow, not before 4.30pm. The other two - a mixed doubles match including Johnathan Marray and Heather Watson of Great Britain and No.7 seed Angelique Kerber - are also must-sees, starting at 5 and 5.30pm, respectively. As courts open up, matches will be placed accordingly. 

The Epic Encounter...
It was noted yesterday, but just two of the over 150 singles matches that have been played at Wimbledon so far this year have goned into "overtime" or "extra innings," meaning they've surpassed a 6-all score in the deciding set. Yes, Federer and Rafael Nadal's losses were dramatic, so too was Sharapova's exit against Bouchard, but not yet has a match gone down to the wire like many of the Wimbledon classics we've seen in the past. Is that match to come on Thursday? Daniel Brands could try to stretch Tomas Berdych to such an encounter on No.2 Court and Jimmy Wang has the ability to hang with Tommy Haas. Or how about a late-in-the-day serving epic between Igor Sijsling and Milos Raonic? It is on Court 18, after all...

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