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Day 5 On Tap: Maria & Venus Collide as Djokovic Returns

A pair of must-see match ups on the women's side along with the return of Novak Djokovic highlights Day 5 of the Australian Open.

By Erik Gudris

Maria Sharapova (January 17th, 2013) -- The most anticipated early round match since the draw was announced is a reality as two of the WTA's biggest stars will clash in the evening. On the men's side, top seed Novak Djokovic returns to action. Here's a quick look at the third round matches to keep an eye on Day 5 at the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova vs. Venus Williams

This was the early round match everyone hoped would come to pass as No. 2 seed Sharapova, who has yet to drop a game, takes on No. 25 seed Venus Williams who has displayed vintage form in her first two matches.

Though Sharapova leads the head to head 4-3, their last match was on clay at Rome last year though Venus won their previous meeting on a hard court at Stanford over three years ago. Both women employ a similar hard-hitting style of game on the court, but the pressure will be more on Venus to keep her stellar form going against Sharapova. The real question will be is if Williams attacks the net, how will Sharapova respond? This one could go down to the wire.

Ana Ivanovic vs. Jelena Jankovic

An all-Serbian encounter that features two former No. 1's though both have struggled since reaching that lofty position. Though they have had their differences in the past, both women are on better terms now off the court. But this will be a match both will dearly want to win.

Jankovic, who has struggled over the last few years with consistency, will be hoping to get 2013 off to a good start by making the second week. Ivanovic, who is knocking on the door of the top 10, is trying to become a Major contender again and won't be satisfied with just a third round showing this year. Expect great shotmaking and, of course, some drama in what should be a three-set tussle.

Madison Keys vs. Angelique Kerber

Young American Madison Keys has been proclaimed as the future of American women's tennis after her solid results so far down under. When her big serve and big forehand are on, she has the potential to blast anyone off of the court.

No. 5 seed Kerber however will feed off of Keys's power and use it to move the American all over the court. Kerber has struggled early in the season but if she's on her game early, she could make this a quick one as the first match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.

Sam Querrey vs. Stanislas Wawrinka

Though many remember their prolonged battle at the U.S. Open from a few years ago. both Querrey and Wawrinka will be aiming to make it to the fourth round at the AO for the first time in their careers. This could be a rowdy five set battle on Margaret Court Arena.

Nicolas Almagro vs. Jerzy Janowicz

After becoming an internet sensation thanks to his meltdown reaction during his last match, Poland's Jerzy Janowicz will have to settle down as he attempts to grind past Spain's Nicolas Almagro.

Novak Djokovic vs. Radek Stepanek

Djokovic was clinical in taking out American Ryan Harrison in the previous round. While Stepanek has a few more tricks up his garish sleeves and might "worm" his way into a tiebreak, expect Djokovic to again prevail in straights.

Bryan/Mirza vs. Stosur/Saville

Mixed Doubles action gets underway today with Bob Bryan and Sania Mirza taking on the all-Aussie pair of Sam Stosur and Luke Saville in what could be a fun match on Hisense Arena this evening.
(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve)


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