| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: USTA/Garrett Ellwood

 

While the new Louis Armstrong Stadium has garnered most of the attention thus far throughout the first week of the 2018 U.S. Open, Arthur Ashe Stadium features a blockbuster slate of matches on Friday, including a day session where both defending singles champions will be in action.

Opening up play is last year’s women’s champ Sloane Stephens taking on two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka in a must-see third round contest. Stephens is coming off a grueling three-set victory over Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina, while Azarenka hasn’t dropped a set thus far in Flushing, highlighted by her 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of 25th seeded Australian Daria Gavrilova on Wednesday. Azarenka is 3-2 all-time against the American, but both of Stephens’ victories came this year, in Indian Wells and Miami.

Rafael Nadal will take on 27th seeded Russian Karen Khachanov following the Stephens-Azarenka clash. The top-seed and defending champion Nadal is 4-0 against Khachanov, including a straight-sets victory at Wimbledon last year. Nadal hasn’t lost to a Russian since 2011, and is 42-3 so far this season.

The most anticipated match of Day Five will be in primetime as sisters Serena and Venus Williams will square off for the 30th time in their legendary careers and the sixth time they have played one another at the U.S. Open. The third round is the earliest stage of a Grand Slam that the two have met, and Serena has won eight of the last 10 matches.

Juan Martin del Potro, the third-seed and 2009 champion, is a lot of experts’ pick to win the title here for a second time, and he will have to get past a tough opponent in 31st seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Friday night to continue his run. Last year’s finalist, Kevin Anderson, will also be in axtion as he takes on 28th seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Louis Armstrong.

Young American Sofia Kenin will look to continue her run as she faces off with eight-seed and former finalist Karolina Pliskova. The Czech has won the only previous meeting between the two.

Click Here to see the full schedule for Day Five at the 2018 U.S. Open.