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Five to Follow: A Venus-Kvitova showdown and Andy’s first test

Caroline Wozniacki waves to the crowd after her match
by Nicholas McCarvel
Friday 27 June 2014

Friday brings round three at The Championships (and a few hangers-on from round two), as the tournament turns a corner towards its business end. Here, a look at the must-watch matches from around the All England Club.  

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Day Five at Wimbledon means round three is under way at The Championships, the day in which the tournament turns a corner and makes a beeline for its business end. It also is the first round in which seeded players will face off against one another, making for some eye-catching match-ups. Here, a rundown of the best. 

[16] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v Ana Konjuh (CRO)
No.3 Court, 11.30am

You can’t call Caroline Wozniacki “old,” but the Dane, 23, faces off against a player much her junior on Friday in 16-year-old Ana Konjuh, the youngest player left in the women’s draw. The Croatian qualified and then scored two respectable wins in Marina Erakovic and Yanina Wickmayer, the latter a former member of the top 20. But Wozniacki, a former world No.1 herself, has looked solid in her first two matches – not dropping a set – and will be tough for the teen. This is their first meeting.

[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v [21] Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
No.1 Court, Second match after 1pm

After his debut on Centre Court in the second round, the No.11 seed Dimitrov is on No.1 Court for a third-round bout with Dolgopolov, no stranger to an upset. The Ukrainian has plenty of big wins in his career, including a victory over Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells earlier this year. These two were meant to play at Queen’s (where Dimitrov eventually was crowned champion), the world No.19 Dolgopolov pulling out with a thigh injury. Their head-to-head is even at one apiece, Dimitrov coming through the most recent match in Basel last year.  

[4] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v [Q] Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR)
No.2 Court, Third match after 11.30am

Another year at Wimbledon, another big name for Michelle Larcher De Brito on No.2 Court. It was a year ago that the player from Portugal shocked Maria Sharapova on this same court, sending the former champion out in just the second round. This round of 32 match pits the ever-creative Radwanska against a baseline-hugging, hard-hitting Larcher De Brito. Their only meeting surprisingly went the way of Larcher De Brito, way back in 2008 when, as a 15-year-old she beat the then-world No.17.

[6] Petra Kvitova (CZE) v [30] Venus Williams (USA)
Centre Court, Second match after 1pm

Two former champions square off on Centre Court, a match that promises to be dramatic – and high-calibre if both women bring their A-games. It’s Kvitova, the 2011 winner that has won three out of their four meetings, each of those coming on hard courts. All of their matches, however, have gone three sets, including a dramatic clash last fall in Tokyo and again this February in Doha. For Kvitova, it’s about holding her nerve and executing her game. And Venus? The now-34-year-old with five Wimbledon crowns to her name needs to look and play fresh on the court – and get her first serve in.   

 [3] Andy Murray (GBR) v [27] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Centre Court, Third match after 1pm

For the first time this Wimbledon, defending champion Murray gets a true test, coming in the form of No.27 seed Bautista Agut, a late-bloomer on the men’s tour who has had a career-best year in 2014. The 26-year-old plays a gritty game, forcing opponents into errors and will no doubt test Murray’s patience. These two have never met, but Bautista Agut will come out firing, having beaten Fernando Verdasco, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro this year.  

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