Wimbledon 2014: the best matches to watch, Thursday 26 June

Rafael Nadal, Heather Watson, Roger Federer and Serena Williams are all in action on the fourth day of The All England Club Championships

Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2] v Lukas Rosol (CZE) – 1st on Centre Court


Rafael Nadal gets his chance to avenge his shock second round defeat in 2012 at the hand of this plucky Czech. Their five-set thriller two years ago saw Rosol hit the form of his life but can he produce the same sort of tennis today? There’s one crucial difference: expectation. When Rosol walked on court for their last grass court showdown he had nothing to lose – he played with gutless energy, pulling off stunning shots and finally recording his victory gone 10pm. This time all eyes will be on him and Nadal will be out for blood following his wobbly four-set win against Martin Klizan on Tuesday. Can world number 52 Rosol trouble the top-ranked Spaniard again? Uncle Toni certainly doesn’t think so… 

Heather Watson (GBR) v Angelique Kerber (GER)[9] – 2nd on Centre Court

Watson remains one of just two Brits still left in the draw but today will prove an almighty test for the world number 60. Kerber is 53 places her senior and has already reached a Wimbledon semi-final in 2012 – a formidable obstacle for the British number one who has surged back into form following a bout of glandular fever last year. Last week she recorded her first win over a top-20 player, ousting Italian Flavia Pennetta at Eastbourne and looked in fine form on Tuesday as she brushed aside Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets. Kerber is a different class of player but Watson will have the home support to bolster her. 

Serena Williams (USA)[1] v Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) – 1st on No.1 Court

Serena Williams’ campaign for a sixth Wimbledon title begun in style earlier this week as she stepped past Anna Tatishvili in a brisk 6-1 6-2 victory. Her next opponent, the South African Scheepers, is ranked outside the top 100 and has fallen in straight sets in the pair’s two previous meetings in 2012. Despite a lack of grass court practise, Serena looks in fine form and will be tipped to command today’s clash and set up a likely third round meet with 25th seed Alize Cornet. 

Jerzy Janowicz (POL)[15] V Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) – 4th on No.2 Court

Today’s crowd pleaser is likely to be this scrap between plucky young Jerzy Janowicz and gutsy 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt. The two have never met and while the Pole is the seeded player and a 2013 semi-finalist, he put in an underwhelming performance to see off Somdev Devvarman in five sets on Tuesday. Never write off Hewitt on grass – he may fail to overpower the big guns in today’s game but his refusal to give up on a single point has made him a fan favourite and a troublesome opponent. Expect this one to go down to the wire. 

Roger Federer (SUI)[4] v Gilles Muller (LUX) – 3rd on Centre Court


Seven-time champion Roger Federer fell at this hurdle last year to world number 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky, although it’s unlikely history will repeat itself out on Centre Court this afternoon. With some pundits tipping Federer to claim his eighth title at The All England Club, the Swiss will want to make quick work of Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. Federer leads their head-to-head 3-0 and has plenty of experience over his 31-year-old opponent whose best Grand Slam showing is a 2008 US Open quarter final. Expect a classy showing from the Fed to book a place in the third round.