A look ahead to Day four of the Australian Open

Day four of the Australian should provide plenty of excitement with Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams, Maria Shapaova, Novak Djokovic and Murray all due on court but the real excitement might take place in the evening session when Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt face off under the lights of the Rod Laver Arena.

The day opens with Sharapova playing Jamie Hampton. If Sharapova can continue in the form of her opening round victory the American qualifier will be little more than a spectator. Sharapova was in superb form against Gisela Dulko and dominated proceedings with her trademark power from the baseline. Her serve wasn’t faultless but neither was it as troublesome as in the past so this match could prove a litmus test of her chances inAustralia. If she can show consistency in these opening matches it will be clear that Sharapova will be a force to be reckoned with over the fortnight inAustralia.

Serena Williams will follow her on court and the former world one playing Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Williams is a five times Australian champion and should be comfortable winner in this match before her championship quest grows more difficult with Vera Zvonareva in her quarter of the draw. The Russian is also due on court on Thursday with the seventh seed playing Lucie Hradecka in the opening match of the day onMargaret Court.

Djokovic will play Santiago Giraldo and with high temperatures once more expected the Serbian will be keen for a quick victory in the final match of the afternoon session before the home crowd can cheer on Jelana Dokic and Hewitt in the evening.

Dokic will need the crowd to play a key role if she is to stand a chance against Marion Bartoli, the ninth seed. Dokic performed well against Anna Chakvetsdze in the opening round of the Open and her confidence will be high against this intriguing matchup.

The biggest match of the day will be Hewitt and Roddick. Even though Hewitt has dropped to 181st in the world Roddick is taking nothing for granted ahead of this match:

“I think when we play, numbers go out the door as far as the number next to our name as far as ranking,” Roddick said. “I don’t pay much attention to it when it comes to Lleyton.  He knows how to win tennis matches. He’s a fighter.  I have as much respect for him as I do for anybody in the game, how he goes about his business, how he competes, how professional he is. We always have a bit of a war.  I probably don’t see it being any different.  I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there.  For sure there is from my end.”

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