Bouchard, Venus set for Made-for-TV Showdown

The first time Eugenie Bouchard watched Venus Williams play tennis she was under 10 years old.

“Maybe eight or something like that?” Bouchard said on Wednesday. “I can’t remember, but I watched her on TV all the time.”

MORE: Thursday’s Order of PlayUpdated Draws

It will be Bouchard who is playing Williams on TV Thursday afternoon at the Volvo Car Open when the two square off in the second match on Billie Jean King Stadium Court not before 1 pm, which will be aired on ESPN2.

“I played her in Tokyo last year, and we had a really tough three set battle,” remembered Bouchard, who is now 20. “I’m looking forward to having a good match, you know. I think she can still play really, really well and serve well. So I’m going to be ready for that.”

Williams won the Tokyo match 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, but since then Bouchard has made the Australian Open semifinals and found herself inside the top 20.

“I feel confident no matter what,” Bouchard added. I respect her, of course, but I’m going to believe in myself and believe that I can win. I feel like I belong more and things like that, so I feel more ready on the court.”

Bouchard-Williams will take the court second after the No. 3 seed Sara Errani takes on Peng Shuai to open the day.

Former champion Sabine Lisicki is in action, as well, taking on fan favorite Andrea Petkovic, her fellow German. Petkovic completed a rare double bagel on Wednesday, winning her second round match 6-0, 6-0. 2007 winner Jelena Jankovic meets Ajla Tomljanovic immediately following.

Another former winner here, Sam Stosur, headlines the evening session. The Australian who won in Charleston in 2010 meets 2012 finalist Lucie Safarova at 7 pm.

Althea Gibson Court has a thrilling line-up on Thursday as well, as all eight of the third-round matches are set to be contested.

Two teenagers who have torn through the draw – Belinda Bencic, 17, and Elina Svitolina, 19 – will play on the Club Court third on after 11 am.

Jana Cepelova, the player who shocked Serena Williams in the second round, looks to back that win up with a win over Elena Vesnina, the No. 13 seed who was a finalist here in 2011.

Former Top 5 star Daniela Hantuchova opens the day on Althea Gibson against Brazil’s Teliana Pereira. Doubles closes the day on that court with the world’s No. 1 team, Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai playing fourth and the dynamic duo of Petkovic and Jelena Jankovic joining forces in the fifth match.

Fans will be treated to a doubles match after the Stosur-Safarova battle as Sorana Cirstea and Maria Kirilenko (both seeded players who lost early), take on Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan.

Photo by Alice Kenney/Volvo Car Open