Wimbledon R3 previews: Almagro vs. Janowicz, Melzer vs. Stakhovsky, Mannarino vs. Brown

Sergiy Stakhovsky and Dustin Brown will continue their Wimbledon campaigns on Friday following huge wins over Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt, respectively. Stakhovsky is facing Jurgen Melzer while Brown is going up against Adrian Mannarino. Nicolas Almagro and Jerzy Janowicz are also in action.

(15) Nicolas Almagro vs. (24) Jerzy Janowicz

Almagro and Janowicz will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers and for the second time in Grand Slam action this season when they clash in the Wimbledon third round on Friday. Their only previous encounter came at the same stage of the Australian Open, where Almagro prevailed 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 6-1. Janowicz has been inconsistent for much of 2013 in the aftermath of his breakout last fall at the Paris Masters, but some decent results include a quarterfinal appearance in Rome and a third-round showing at the French Open. The 22nd-ranked Pole also reached the last 32 at the All-England Club in 2012 and he has already matched that effort with scalps of Kyle Edmund (in straight sets) and Radek Stepanek (via second-set retirement).

Almagro has dropped only one set–in a tiebreaker–through two matches while getting past Jurgen Zopp and Guillaume Rufin. The 16th-ranked Spaniard is now 28-12 for the year, which features a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open and clay-court runner-ups in Houston and Barcelona. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal already out of this section, Almagro’s first-ever major semifinal could be in the cards. Wimbledon is not the likeliest of venues for such an accomplishment from Almagro, but he is underrated on grass. The No. 15 seed has now reached the third round four times at the All-England Club.

Pick: Almagro in 4

Jurgen Melzer vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky

Two days after a hard-to-believe scalp of Roger Federer, Stakhovsky will be back on the Wimbledon court for third-round action. The 116th-ranked Ukrainian had been just 8-10 at the ATP level this season, but he turned in a vintage grass-court performance just about out of nowhere to stun Federer 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(4) on a Wednesday that was shocking from start to finish. Stakhovsky preceded that triumph with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 blowout of clay-courter Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Melzer still registers at a respectable 37th in the world thanks in part to a Challenger title in Dallas and a quarterfinal run in Miami, but for the most part his 2013 campaign has been mediocre at best. The 32-year-old Austrian is one win away from leveling his record at 17-17 following victories at the All-England Club over Fabio Fognini and Julian Reister (both in four sets). Stakhovsky faces a tough test in building on such a monumental win, but his confidence on this surface and a very beatable opponent should help him accomplish the feat.

Pick: Stakhovsky in 4

Adrian Mannarino vs. (Q) Dustin Brown

Mannarino and Brown will also be squaring off for the first time in their careers at the ATP level on Friday. Unlike Melzer and Stakhovsky, however, these two have faced each other at the Futures and Challenger levels–on three occasions. Mannarino leads the head-to-head series 2-1 after winning their most recent encounter 7-6(3), 7-6(2) earlier this season to capture the Sarajevo title.

Brown, though, has to be feeling good about contesting this matchup on grass for the first time. The 189th-ranked German is enjoying the week of his life, having qualified for the main draw before taking out Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Lleyton Hewitt. Mannarino has been the beneficiary of good fortune so far at the All-England Club. The 111th-ranked Frenchman dropped only seven total games in his first two matches, thrashing Pablo Andujar before getting a retirement from John Isner at 1-1 in the first set. Based on the surface and his sky-high confidence, Brown in four sets is the pick.

Pick: Brown in 4

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