Wimbledon 2012: matches to watch, day three

Today's highlights include Heather Watson v Jamie Lee Hampton, Maria Sharapova v Tsvetana Pironkova and Roger Federer v Fabio Fognini

Heather Watson (GBR) v Jamie Lee Hampton (USA) – 1st on No.2 Court


The gutsy Brit plays her first match in the second round at Wimbledon but Hampton will prove a challenge, having booked her place at the expense of 27th seed Daniela Hantuchova.  In their one previous meeting the 20-year-old Briton triumphed, only losing three games, and Watson will have overwhelming support from the home crowd. The American is a mere three ranking spots higher than her opponent so expect a gritty battle for a coveted place in the third round.

Roger Federer (SUI)(3) v Fabio Fognini (ITA) – 1st on Centre Court

The mighty Federer is back where he belongs – on Centre Court. Having steamrollered Albert Ramos 6-1 6-1 6-1 in the first round, the Swiss turns his attention to Fabio Fognini, ranked number 68. The Italian beat former world number 21 Michael Llodra to set up this second round encounter but he has never progressed beyond the third round at SW19 and few will be persuaded that he’ll succeed this time of asking. Federer is hungrier than ever to secure another Wimbledon title and he will want to conserve his energy before he faces the dominant Djokovic and Nadal in the later stages so expect him to push for a swift straight-sets victory.

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)(3) v Elena Vesnina (RUS) – 2nd on No.3 Court

Vesnina has already caused a major upset this year, knocking out Venus Williams in the first round, so facing a top seed in the second is unlikely to phase her. Radwanska has had a promising year so far with a 39-9 win-loss record, and titles in Dubai and Miami. The pair are a match apiece from their two previous meetings but Vesnina, despite peaking at number 22 in the world in 2009, has failed to consistently beat the top players. Radwanska will go into this match as the overwhelming favourite but will face a hungry Vesnina, keen to continue her winning streak.

Maria Sharapova (RUS)(1) v Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) – 3rd on No.1 Court

Sharapova is on a high, having taken the French Open crown and eased through the first round 6-2 6-3. At Wimbledon she returns to the scene of her first major triumph, having won the singles title as a young 17-year-old, and many are tipping her to go all the way this year. But Pironkova is a shifty opponent. Although unseeded and ranked 38 in the world, in 2010 she defeated five-times champion Venus Williams to reach the semis and last year progressed to the quarters at the expense of Vera Zvonerava and Venus (again!) Sharapova will be widely favoured, but don’t underestimate Pironkova’s proven grass court prowess.

Gilles Simon (FRA)(13) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) – 4th on No.1 Court


Frenchman Simon may hold the higher ranking, but grass is not his favourite surface. Malisse, however, has produced his best Grand Slam performance at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-finals in 2002 and the fourth round last year. The veteran Belgian is currently ranked 38, and holds a mediocre 16-13 win-loss record in 2012 – the smart money will be on Simon, but don’t expect Malisse to step aside in what is likely to be one his last Wimbledon tournaments.