By Jake Davies

  • Serena Williams [17] vs Venus Williams [16]
  • Rafael Nadal [1] vs Karen Khachanov [27]
  • Victoria Azarenka vs Sloane Stephens [3]
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – On Day Five of the US Open, we look at the  third round matches to really watch out for on an action-packed day for tennis fans.

 

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Serena Williams [17] vs Venus Williams [16] H2H: Serena Williams leads 17-12

Serena Williams will continue her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title as she looks to defeat sister Venus Williams in their highly-anticipated third round encounter in New York, which really stands out as one of the matches not to miss at this stage of the tournament.

The head-to-head really is a fascinating one. This will be the 30th time that the two sisters play each other. Venus  actually won the latest match in Indian Wells, but it is a rivalry that Serena has edged, winning 3 of the 5 matches in New York and gaining the upper hand in Grand Slam matches, claiming 10 wins in 15 matches, and that means a great deal in this match-up.

It will be a battle for baseline supremacy. Both players like to take control of most of their points through their heavy groundstrokes from the back of the court, but also both sisters have the technical ability to take advantage of the short drive volley and finish the point at the net. The key really is simple for Venus to really try to move her opponent around the court and ensure that her sister is taking a lot of the points on the stretch and away from her comfort zone.

Prediction: Serena Williams in straight sets

 

READ MORE | US Open 2018 | Latest Schedules, Draws, Results, and How to Watch

US Open 2018 | Latest Schedules, Draws, Results, and How to Watch

 

Rafael Nadal [1] vs Karen Khachanov [27] H2H: Nadal leads 4-0

Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, ATP Monte Carlo 2018

Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, ATP Monte Carlo 2018 | (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The World No.1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal has made an imperious start, not only to his US Open campaign, but to his overall hard-court performances, after winning the Rogers Cup three weeks ago. Nadal has shown consistent but unforgiving ball-striking from the baseline and is looking hard to beat. He next faces Russia’s Karen Khachanov, who is set for a very good career, has put together some promising results, but this particular match may have come a bit too early for his development.

Nadal’s last opponent Vasek Pospisil plays a similar game to Khachanov. He has the ability to control play through a big first serve and looks to command control of the court by flying forehand from corner to corner. The problem for Khachanov – like Pospisil – is that he has the unbelievable power, but not the sustainability or the consistency to carry or implement that game-style over best-of-five. The Spaniard has the knack to turn points around in his favour and will find a way to ensure that Khachanov’s poorer defensive skills will be tested on the match-court.

Prediction: Nadal in straight sets

 

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Victoria Azarenka vs Sloane Stephens [3] H2H: Azarenka leads 3-2

Sloane Stephens US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Photo by Mike Frey/BPI/REX/Shutterstock | Sloane Stephens US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

In a match featuring two Grand Slam champions, Victoria Azarenka takes on the defending US Open champion Sloane Stephens for a coveted place in the fourth round spot.

Azarenka has now moved her way inside the Top-100 after a long comeback trail and will be desperate to relive some of those big Grand Slam memories that she achieved back in 2012 and 2013 when she won and defended her Australian Open crown.

The key duel will be Stephens’ first and second serve going up against Azarenka’s blistering return of serve. Stephens has the athletic ability to turn points around from desperate, helpless positions, but she also has the power in her groundstrokes to cause problems from an offensive standpoint. For Azarenka, it is about gradually taking control of points. Using the patience and power combined to work her way into points by spreading the court, moving her opponent from side to side and staying alive mentally all the way through the contest.

The pressure is firmly on Stephens to deliver once again in front of her home crowd, but Azarenka will recognise that a win here will be one of her biggest in her comeback and could lead to even greater things in the near future.

Prediction: Stephens in three sets

Play continues on Day Five of the US Open at 11am (4pm BST) on all courts except Arthur Ashe Stadium, which starts at 12pm (5pm BST).

 

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