Bernard Tomic, the bright, but controversial, hope of Australian tennis takes on the sport’s greatest ever player, Roger Federer, in the first of the evening matches on Rod Laver Arena.
The pair also met a round later last year in Melbourne, with Federer coming out on top as he has done in all three of his meetings with the talented 20-year-old.
While he looks to put some of his problems off the court behind him, Tomic has also made improvements in his game in the past year and notably is yet to lose his serve in his two matches so far at the this Australian Open.
But Federer has cruised through to the third round and, while Tomic is likelier to give him a sterner test than the straight-sets romp last year, the second seed’s enduring class will likely see him prevail.
Ricardas Berankis, for whom big things were once predicted, faces another of the title contenders in third seed Andy Murray. The Lithuanian, 22, has been bothered by persistent injuries in recent times, but he has looked in fine form as he came through qualifying in Melbourne before comfortably disposing of 25th seed Florian Mayer in the second round.
Murray, though, is well versed in what Berankis brings to the court, having practiced with his third-round opponent on several occasions.
There should be little problem for two of the favorites for the women’s title, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, as they play their third-round matches on Saturday.
Williams has never met Japan’s 72nd ranked Ayumi Morita, but she looks set to repeat the dominance of her first two rounds in Australia that have seen her lose just two games.
Azarenka’s opponent, American Jamie Hampton, enjoyed a breakthrough year last year as she moved inside the world’s top 100. The 23-year-old has already achieved her best ever grand slam result this week, but has her work cut out to prevent the world No. 1 from marching on with something to spare.
Another young American will also be in the spotlight, with Sloane Stephens taking part in a battle of the promising teenagers against Britain’s Laura Robson.
The two met for the first of what could be many occasions two weeks ago with Stephens coming out on top. Stephens, almost a year older than her opponent, looks to be slightly ahead in her development at this stage, but Robson should take a lot of confidence from her nail-biting 11-9 final-set victory over former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the last round.
Where to watch: The sixth day of play at the Australian Open will get underway at 7 p.m. ET on Friday. Coverage will begin on the Tennis Channel, before switching to ESPN2. A live stream of multiple courts can be viewed throughout the day’s action on ESPN3.