How good is Thursday's slate of early round matches at Wimbledon? So good that ones involving Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki Ana Ivanovic, John Isner (back on Court 18 for the first time since last year's marathon) and a battle between Robin Soderling and a former Grand Slam champion didn't even make Busted Racquet's five matches to watch.
1. Serena Williams (7) vs. Simona Halep, Court 2, 7 a.m. ET
Every match Serena plays at the All England Club is must-see tennis because everything's on the table whenever she steps on the court. You say she's going to win 6-0, 6-0, I'd believe it. You say she's going to lose in straights? I'd believe it. In theory, Halep shouldn't pose as much of a threat as Aravane Rezai did in the first round but, then again, nobody thought Kimiko Date-Krumm was going to hang with Venus for as long as she did on Wednesday.
2. Olivier Rochus to finish vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (24), 7-6, Court 2, second match
When the first set between the Belgian and Argentine ended on Wednesday, Del Potro threw both his shoes into the crowd in disgust, the result of a set spent sliding around the grass of Court 2. The diminutive Rochus gave Del Potro trouble with his low shots. If the oft-injured former Grand Slam champ wants to advance to his first Wimbledon third round, he'll have to figure out a way to get lower.
3. Li Na (3) vs. Sabine Lisicki, Centre Court, second match
Lisicki was as high as No. 22 in the rankings in 2009 before an injury helped push her out of the top 200 earlier this year. She won a grass court tuneup event in Birmingham last week and still needed a wild card to get into the main draw at Wimbledon. Her reward? Playing the French Open champion on Centre Court.
4. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (14) vs. Nadia Petrova, Court 17, 7 a.m. ET
An All-Russian affair starts the day on Court 17 when the 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, a French Open quarterfinalist, faces the veteran Petrova. The last time Petrova played in Wimbledon and didn't advance to at least the third round was when Bill Clinton was president and Pavlyuchenkova was only 9 years old.
5. Maria Sharapova (5) vs. Laura Robson, Court 1, last on
A Wimbledon favorite vs. the hometown favorite. Robson won the Wimbledon juniors as a 14-year-old. Now 17, the Wimbledon native (she lives five minutes down the road) will have the support of the crowd as she faces the tournament favorite.
Apologies to: Robin Soderling (5) vs. Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Kevin Anderson, Roger Federer (3) vs. Adrian Mannarino and Nicolas Almagro (16) vs. John Isner.