By Erwin Ong
CINCINNATI -- Thursday’s schedule at the 2013 Western & Southern Open includes Round of 16 action for both the men’s and women’s singles draws. Among the notable matches are the battles between defending champion Roger Federer and 11th seed Tommy Haas; Sloane Stephens and former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic; and American John Isner and Milos Raonic.
The day session will open with Victoria Azarenka facing Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova on Center Court. Novak Djokovic then plays qualifier David Goffin, succeeded by Federer and Haas. Federer has won 11 of the 14 matches he has played against Haas, including their most recent meeting this past spring on the grass courts of Halle.
On Grandstand, the day begins with Juan Martin del Potro facing Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, followed by Jankovic and Stephens, then by Andy Murray battling Julien Benneteau. Petra Kvitova, who retired from her doubles match on Wednesday due to dizziness, will face Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.
Featured on Court 9 are David Ferrer, Raonic playing Isner, and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska taking on Elena Vesnina. Vesnina took out Venus Williams in three sets on Tuesday afternoon. Raonic and Isner will meet for the second time; their first and only meeting was on the hard courts of Toronto in 2012, which Isner won. Both men are coming into the Western & Southern Open with strong performances this summer.
In the afternoon, the outer courts will feature men’s and women’s doubles matches. The German team of Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic – wild cards – play against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke. The third-seeded pair of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, also slated to compete, have already won three titles this year in Eastbourne, Barcelona, and Sao Paolo.
In the evening session, Grigor Dimitrov will attempt to upset fourth seed Rafael Nadal. The talented Bulgarian has taken sets off Nadal in their previous two matches but has never notched a win. The final match features No. 1 seed Serena Williams against the hard-hitting German Mona Barthel.
For Grandstand’s evening session, Samantha Stosur takes on Simona Halep, who upset Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli in the Round of 16. They will be followed by doubles No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan playing the French team of Jeremy Chardy and Richard Gasquet. The Bryans are seeking their fourth trophy in Cincinnati.