| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The fifth day of the 2017 U.S. Open commences on Friday and it will bring with it the beginning of the third round in singles play, with three former champions taking to the court in hopes of reaching the Round of 16 in Flushing Meadows.

The always polarizing Maria Sharapova will be one of those former U.S. Open winners on Friday, as the 2006 champion will close out the night session inside Arthur Ashe Stadium against American Sofia Kenin. Sharapova has been the talk of the tournament, both good and bad, and has won two three-set matches in the opening rounds in her first Grand Slam appearance following her doping suspension. She takes on a player in Kenin who saved match points in her second round win over fellow American Sachia Vickery, and who is eerily similar to herself.

Like Sharapova, Kenin is Russian-born who moved to Florida at a young age to train at an academy. The two have never played, and it will be interesting to see how Kenin reacts to being under the bright lights of Ashe.

Prior to the Sharapova-Kenin matchup, 10th seed American John Isner will meet Germany’s Mischa Zverev, the 23rd seed, for the fifth time in their careers. The two have split the previous four meetings, but Zverev has won the most recent two meetings including earlier this year in Melbourne; Zverev won that matchup with a 9-7 triumph in a fifth set. Many people believe that with the men’s singles draw wide open that it could pave the way for a deep run for Isner, and he will need to exact some revenge on his German opponent in order to do so.

To close out the day session on Ashe will be the two-time campion and 37-year old Venus Williams taking on Greece’s Maria Sakkari. Venus beat Sakkari at Wimbledon a year ago and is seeking her 16th appearance in the U.S. Open fourth round.

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov will look to continue his magical run in Queens as he meets Kyle Edmund of Great Britain. Shapovalov lit up the Ashe crowd on Wednesday night when he routinely defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets and will be granted with another match in the world’s biggest tennis stadium. The two have met twice this year already and will play the rubber match for a spot in the fourth round on Friday.

The 2014 champion Marin Cilic opens up play inside Louis Armstrong Stadium as the fifth-seed meets 29th seeded Diego Schwartzman. Cilic won the only previous matchup between these two, earlier this year in Istanbul, and the Croat is seeking his 30th career win at the U.S. Open.

There are plenty of other big names across the board who will take to the court on Day Five, including Petra Kvitova, Sam Querrey, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens, and plenty of men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches on an action-packed Friday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Click Here to see the full schedule for Day Five of the 2017 U.S. Open.