By Mike McIntyre
The Rogers Cup in Toronto has reached the third round and will see 16 players battle it out for spots in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Starting the day off at Rexall Centre will be 3rd seeded Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland against 14th seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States. Radwanska has a 2-0 career head-to-head against the young American though both victories took three sets to accomplish. Radwanska easily dispatched the hard hitting but error prone Yanina Wickmayer on Tuesday night while Stephens took out Mona Barthel in a match that went the distance. Radwanska has been looking sharp this week and I'd expect her to get past Stephens today.
Over on the Grandstand court, Alize Cornet of France will see if she can continue to deliver upsets against 5th seeded Sara Errani. Cornet defeated 11th seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko in the second round in straight sets while Errani took out Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 7-6 yesterday. Errani has won two of the three meetings against Cornet and should be favored to move on today.
Beginning no earlier than 1pm on Centre Court, the 4th seeded Li Na from China will face 16th seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. The two have only met once before, on clay back in 2006 in a match that Ivanovic was forced to retire after trailing 1-6. Neither player has dropped a set yet this week here in Toronto. Coin toss in this one, although don't forget that Li Na did make the finals a year ago in Montreal.
The second match on the Grandstand is between Wimbledon winner and 7th seed Marion Bartoli against the unheralded Magadalena Rybarikova of Slovakia. This is their seventh career meeting with Bartoli holding a 4-2 advantage. Look for Bartoli to advance with ease as her confidence is huge at the moment.
World number one Serena Williams will take to the court not before 2:30pm and faces Kirsten Flipkens the 13th seed. Flipkens ruined any chance of an all-Williams match-up when she dropped Venus in the opening round 0-6, 6-4, 6-2. Will she be able to defeat two Williams' in one tournament? Don't count on it. This will be the first career meeting between the two but I wouldn't expect it to last too long.
Jelena Jankovic the 15th seed will be up against Sorana Cirstea who out-lasted Caroline Wozniacki in a match that lasted 2 hours and 56 minutes Wednesday night. Cirstea saved two match points against Wozniacki and we'll see if her good fortune continues today against the talented Jankovic. The pair have split their previous four meetings although Jankovic has won the last two in a row on hard court.
Dominika Cilbulkova and Roberta Vinci have played each other more than any other third round combo here in Toronto. This will be their eighth match against one another with Vinci holding the 5-2 lead. Vinci in fact has won the last five straight and that includes victories on clay, grass and hard court. That being said, Cilbulkova has been striking the ball awfully hard all week and is coming off an excellent performance in Stanford two weeks ago where she won the title by defeating Radwanska in the final. I can see her pulling off the mild upset here today.
At night, Petra Kvitova will play Sam Stosur in the last of the third round matches. Kvitova dashed the hopes of Canadian tennis fans by knocking off Eugenie Bouchard last night in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. She leads Stosur 4-1 in their previous encounters although Stosur won their most recent match on clay in Rome earlier this year. Stosur is coming in hot with a tournament win in Carlsbad and will have a great shot at upsetting her higher ranked opponent today.
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