Former Champs Petkovic, Jankovic on Quarterfinal Collision Course

The two most charismatic players in the Volvo Car Open draw are just a pair of match wins away from a blockbuster Friday quarterfinal on Daniel Island.

MORE: Thursday’s Full Schedule | Keys, Hingis Win Wednesday | Draws | Tickets

The oft-dancing Andrea Petkovic, the Cup’s defending champion, will look to continue her Charleston winning streak Thursday against American up and comer Madison Brengle. The German, seeded third here, is the top-ranked remaining player after a loss by top seed Genie Bouchard and a withdrawal by No. 2 Ekaterina Makarova.

Jelena Jankovic, the No. 6 seed, will look for a victory on Thursday as well, the 2007 Volvo Car Open champion taking on youngster Danka Kovinic, a 20-year-old qualifier that has idolized the Serbian for much of her young career. 

Petkovic and Brengle meet in the second match on Billie Jean King Stadium Court, set for not before 1 pm, while Jankovic headlines the evening session, starting at 7 pm.

It’s a day in which the seeds and stars will look to re-assert themselves after both Bouchard and Makarova exited, as well as losses for former champ Sam Stosur and American favorites Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers.

But Madison Keys was a big winner Wednesday night, the 20-year-old American rising star set to play after Petkovic on Stadium Court against surprise third-round member Andreea Mitu of Romania.

“I don’t really know her,” Keys admitted of Mitu. “Obviously she’s playing well. She’s won a couple of matches… so I’m sure it’ll be a tough match. I’m just excited to go out and hopefully have another really good match (Thursday).”

Fans get quite the line-up on Althea Gibson Club Court: No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber opens the day there before Lauren Davis, who stunned Bouchard Wednesday, meets No. 15 seed Mona Barthel as No. 4 seed Sara Errani closes the day’s play there. Both feature courts start at 11 am.

While Petkovic is the heavy favorite against Brengle, a Delaware native, she lost their only meeting, played earlier this year in the first round of the Australian Open.

“Brengle played tremendously well (in Australia)… She didn’t miss a ball,” said Petkovic, who has now won seven straight matches in Charleston. “It was amazing. I had a lot of trouble to find a strategy against her. And I think now I’ve worked on a lot of things after that match, actually… So I worked on a lot of things, and it would be really interesting for me to see if I could make it work now.”

Kovinic grew up idolizing Jankovic, a former world No. 1 and a star in her home country of Serbia. While Kovinic represents Montenegro, she grew up in Serbia.

Does the breakout star give herself a chance against the former winner here?

“There is always a chance,” Kovinic told reporters. “I’ll just go there and have fun. Maybe it will be kind of weird to play and all because all the time I was watching her, I was cheering for her every match, and today I have to play against her. So of course, I’ll give my best to win if I can. If not, it’s just good tournament for me this year. That’s it.”

Doubles fans also have plenty to cheer about on Thursday, as well, with Petkovic pairing with Marina Erakovic to play the No. 4 seeds Timea Babos and Anna-Lena Gronefeld before American Bethanie Mattek-Sands teams up with Ajla Tomljanovic against Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the evening session.