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Former women's No.1s meet in Aussie Open
Sam Lienert
06:36 AEST Fri Jan 18 2013

They boast 11 grand slam titles between them but one of Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova will be out of the Australian Open in the third round on Friday night.

The Williams-Sharapova clash in Rod Laver Arena is one of two on Friday pitting two former women's world No.1s against each other.

The other comes earlier in the day, when Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will meet in an all-Serbian glamour match in Hisense Arena.

Sharapova and Williams will both enter their showdown in fine form.

American Williams, the 25th seed, has cruised through her two opening matches in straight sets.

But Russian second seed Sharapova - who won the Open in 2008 and was last year's losing finalist - has been incredibly dominant, not giving up a single game in either of her first two matches.

Friday night's showcase men's match - between Cypriot crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis and Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer - also promises to be a beauty.

Baghdatis' best run at a grand slam came at Melbourne Park in 2006, when he reached the final before falling to Roger Federer.

Ferrer reached the quarter-finals last year and semi-finals a year earlier.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will attempt to stretch his Australian Open winning streak to 17 when he meets Czech 31st seed Radek Stepanek earlier in the day.

Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych will play a night match against Austria's Jurgen Melzer.

Polish women's fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be out to continue her exceptional start to 2013 when she begins the day against Britain's Heather Watson.

Radwanska has already won titles in Auckland and Sydney this year without dropping a set and continued that run in the year's opening grand slam.

But 20-year-old Watson could take some inspiration from 18-year-old fellow Englishwoman Laura Robson, who ousted Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova in a three-hour second round battle which finished in the early hours of Friday.


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