Wimbledon, Day 5: Five Matches To Watch

No continuations in singles for Day 5. A clean slate of third round matches (as well as two holdover second round matches) make up the schedule, as seeds collide and intensity picks up.

During World Cup play, American TV coverage switches to ESPNU.

Here are the five matches you should be following for Friday:

1. Thiemo de Bakker (NED) vs No. 23 John Isner (USA) (7 AM EDT on ESPN2) -- Way out on Court 5, a very tired John Isner and a fairly tired Thiemo de Bakker face an early 12 PM start, which is understandable since their part of the draw is playing catch-up. Being on an outer court probably hurts Isner, as he has to be somewhat addicted to the electric atmosphere he's been playing in for the past two days. He didn't look especially fatigued today, so there's no reason to assume he will be tomorrow, either. More concerning for Isner is the horrible way he returned against Mahut, failing to break Mahut's serve for 74 straight games. de Bakker has to enjoy that stat.

2. No. 17 Justine Henin (BEL) vs No. 12 Nadia Petrova (8 AM EDT on ESPN2) -- Everyone is already talking about the likely fourth round encounter between Kim Clijsters and Henin, but it should be remembered that everyone was talking about the likely quarterfinal between those two as well back in Melbourne, before Petrova thwarted it by up-ending Clijsters. Petrova is more suited to grass than Henin, but Henin is undoubtedly the more mentally tough of the two. If Petrova is gonna win this, it's going to have to be fairly lopsided.

3. No. 21 Gael Monfils (FRA) vs No. 15 Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) (~10 AM EDT on ESPNU) -- One tremendous showman and one terrific grass courter meet in what is sure to be one of the most entertaining matches of the fortnight. Grass is not built for extended rallies, but if any two players know how to extend a point and express their emotions once its won, it's Hewitt and Monfils. I reckon The Queen would have gotten quite a kick out of this one.

4. No. 26 Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) vs No. 2 Venus Williams (USA) (~11 AM EDT on ESPNU) -- Alisa Kleybanova is one of the scrappiest players on either tour, running down ball after ball to extend rallies despite her seemingly less than swift physique. But the balls coming off Venus Williams' racquet are a lot tougher than your average ball, and will skid off the grass. If Venus is playing consistent, precise tennis, she will win. If not, this one could be a brawl

5. No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs No. 5 Andy Roddick (USA) (~1 PM EDT on ESPN2) -- This is a very tricky match for Roddick, who lost to Kohlschreiber 8-6 in the fifth set of their third round match at the 2008 Australian Open. Kohlschreiber can bomb aces like Roddick, and is just as good off the ground. This one will come down to tactics and poise, which is where the more experienced Roddick should have the edge. But it won't be easy.

Bonus Match to Watch: No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) (7 AM EST, Likely Untelevised) -- This match was postponed from yesterday because of the length of the Isner-Mahut match, which is nearby in the draw. Here's what I had to say about it yesterday, when I had it as one of my "Five To Watch" for Day 4:

These two have played some great matches previously in their career, hence the scheduling committee's somewhat surprising move to put these two relatively obscure guys on the second-biggest stage at the tournament. Mathieu is more of a natural fast court player, but Youzhny is playing better now than he has at any point since he smashed that racquet into his head repeatedly.

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