LONDON: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova target Wimbledon last-16 places on Friday, hoping to avoid the underdog trap that claimed two-time winner Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam winner, was knocked out by German qualifier Dustin Brown on Thursday in the second round, the great Spaniard’s fourth successive early loss at the All England Club.
Defending champion and top seed Djokovic takes on Australia’s Bernard Tomic who he defeated in the quarter-finals in 2011.
The Serb is bidding to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the seventh straight year.
Serena Williams continues her bid for a sixth Wimbledon and 21st major title by taking on Heather Watson, the last remaining British woman in the tournament.
The American star and world number 59 Watson are meeting for the first time.
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, tackles Romanian 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu who before this year had never won a match at Wimbledon.
Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov, who made the semi-finals in 2014, opens play on Centre Court against French 21st seed Richard Gasquet, a semi-finalist in 2007.
Gasquet has a 4-0 record against Dimitrov.
Fourth seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, the French Open champion, faces Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco.
US Open champion Marin Cilic meets US 17th seed John Isner with a 4-0 career advantage.
Nick Kyrgios, who knocked out Nadal in the fourth round in 2014, faces Canadian seventh seed Milos Raonic who won their quarter-final clash last year.
Wimbledon order of play on the show courts on Friday, the fifth day of the 2015 tournament at the All England Club.