The 126th Wimbledon Championships will enter its fourth day on Thursday and there are some big names in action at the All-England Club. IBTimes UK runs the rule over the players who will take to grass for Day Four and tells you where you can watch all the action live!
Story so Far
The tournament has already seen the loss of stars like fifth seed Sam Stosur and the seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki (both on Wednesday). That was followed by the exit of eleventh seed and 2011 French Open champion Li Na on the same day. The 30 year Chinese went down to Romanian Sorana Cirstea 3-6, 4-6.
The tumbling of seeds actually started on the very first day, with sixteenth seed Flavia Penetta and eighteenth seed Jelena Jankovic being shown the way out. The biggest surprise, however, was the defeat of former champion Venus Williams, who went out 1-6, 3-6 to unseeded Elena Vesnina of Russia.
The loss of big names was offset, in part, by the ease with which women's top seed and reigning French Open champion Russian Maria Sharapova dismissed her first round opponent, Anastasia Rodionova, winning 6-2, 6-3. Joining her in the next round were defending champion and fourth seed Kvitova, second seed Azarenka, sixth seed Serena Williams.
Over on the men's side of things, top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic continues his imperious march to a second straight Wimbledon title. The hard-hitting Serbian has been one of the most outstanding players in the men's game in recent years, having made the quarter final or better in every Grand Slam since the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. Indeed, Djokovic has been dominant over the past couple of years, winning four of the last six Slams (Australian Open 2011 and 2012, Wimbledon, 2011 and US Open 2011). The only major title that still eludes him is the French Open.
He has shown no signs of hangover, though, after losing the 2011 French Open final to Rafael Nadal and has waltzed through the opening rounds, winning both games in straight sets. Meanwhile, fellow legends Roger Federer and Nadal have been equally dismissive of opposition so far. In fact, Federer's Round 1 defeat of Spain's Albert Ramos - 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 - bodes well for the Swiss' attempts to reclaim a crown he once held unchallenged from 2003 to 2007.
However, there have been slip-ups from the gentlemen's side as well, with the highest casualty being sixth seed Tomas Berdych. The Czech lost three tie breaks to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis. Meanwhile, non-seeded high profile casualties include Argentina's David Nalbandian, who made it to the finals of the 2002 Championships before losing to Australian Lleyton Hewitt. Incidentally, Hewitt, who received a Wild Card for the 2012 Championships, lost on Tuesday, to fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Who's up on Day Four?
Among the big names we'll see on Thursday, from the women's singles side, are former world number ones Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, as well as defending champion Petra Kvitova.
Azarenka will face Swiss Romina Oprandi in her second round game. the challenger will have good memories of the alst time she played the former world number one - she won in straight sets. However that was more than five years ago and Azarenka should be confident of cruising into the next round. Oprandi does deserve some respect though... she beat former world number one Kim Clijsters at the s-Hertogenbosch tournament last year and almost repeated the feat this year before the Belgian restored normal order. Azarenka beat American Irina Falconi 6-1, 6-4 in the first round, while Oprandi navigated her way past Irina-Camelia Begu in her first round game.
- Romina Oprandi (SUI) vs Victoria Azarenka (BLR) is the last match of the day on No.2 Court
Meanwhile, top seed Sharapova will also be in action, as the Russian looks to wrap up her second round game against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. The Russian leads 7-6(3), 3-1 and should be easily through into the third round.
- Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) on No.1 Court at 1 pm BST
Sixth seed and four time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams will take on Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink. The American sailed past Czech Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová 6-2, 6-4 in her first round and looks set to add to an impressive 61-8 career win/loss record at SW19.
- Serena Williams (USA) vs Melinda Czink (HUN) on Centre Court at 1 pm BST
Defending champion Kvitova will have to beat hometown girl Elena Baltacha if she wants to go any further at the Championships this year. Baltacha is a 28 year old Ukraine-born right hander, whose previous best singles performance was a third round appearance in 2002.
- Elena Baltacha (GBR) vs Petra Kvitova (CZE) is the last match of the day on No.1 Court
The gentlemen's singles draw will see even bigger names in action on Thursday, as fourth seed and local favourite Andy Murray, American Andy Roddick and fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga look to advance into the second week of the tournament.
First up will be Murray, whose clinical 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 dismantling of Russian Nikolay Davydenko was an encouraging start. The Telegraph called the match an exhibition of Murray at the peak of his powers... and they were not wrong. Murray will play Croatian Ivo Karlovic in his second round game and this will be a pleasingly hard test of the Briton's title-winning credentials. The big-serving Croat's best performance on the grass at Wimbledon was back in 2009, when he made the quarter final; he lost to eventual champion Roger Federer but not before taking out then ninth seed Tsonga and seventh seed Fernando Verdasco. Murray has been quoted as saying he is wary of facing Karlovic on grass but will go into the tie never having lost a match to him; they've played three times and Murray has won all of them, the most recent being on the hard courts of Cincinnati in 2008.
- Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs Andy Murray (GBR) is the second match of the day on Centre Court
Also in action will be American Andy Roddick, the thirtieth seed at the Championships and he will face Germany's Bjorn Phau. The American's sole Grand Slam win was the 2003 US Open and since then he has had a dismal time of things on the big stages, having made the quarter final or better only seven times since then! His best performance at a Grand Slam after the US Open win was an appearance at the 2009 Wimbledon final, which he lost to Federer. Nevertheless, he should still have the edge over 32 year old Phau, who has never been past the first round at Wimbledon.
- Bjorn Phau (GER) vs Andy Roddick (USA) is the third match of the day on No.2 Court
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his second round game and the heavy-hitting Tsonga, whose best performance at Wimbledon was a semi final appearance last year should be confident he can handle anything the Spaniard can throw at him.
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) is the last match of the day on No.3 Court
Where to Watch Live:
You can follow all the action live, from 11.30 am to 3.25 pm BST, on BBC2. For country specific and broadcasting details and times, check out the BBC television programming Web site. You can also follow the matches live on Wimbledon's official Web site.