- Serena Williams will face a tough test against No.13 seed Maria Sakkari, who won one of her four most recent clashes against a Top-10 opponent
- Victoria Azarenka will try to extend her 6-0 win-loss record against Alizé Cornet
- Former finalist John Isner will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas
NEW YORK, USA – It is Day Four of the Western & Southern Open, and we take a look at a pick of the best matches to watch.
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Serena Williams  v Maria Sakkari  | Williams leads H2H 1-0
Two-time Western & Southern Open champion Serena Williams had to dig deet to beat Arantxa Rus in her longest match since losing to Virginie Razzano at the Roland Garros in 2012. That match caused her to drastically change her approach and to turn to Patrick Mouratoglou as her coach.
The 23-time Slam champion said to feel ready to pass the next tests at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. She’s taking a day at a time, but she clearly looked fitter than she was in Lexington where Shelby Rodgers upset her in three sets.
The oldest champion in the tournament’s history now owns a 23-5 record at Western & Southern Open: only Jelena Jankovic has posted more victories here (24). Bidding for her 28th WTA title in the United States, she will meet Maria Sakkari.
Definitely convincing on serve in her opening matches here, the No.13 seed has won just one of her last four top-10 meetings. She will need all her competitive spirit to repeat last year’s quarterfinals.
John Isner  v Stefanos Tsitsipas  | Isner leads H2H 2-1
The 2013 Western & Open finalist John Isner advanced to the round-16 with a troubled win over John Millman in a tense match that could have gone either way. The former top-10 lost the opening set but managed to complete his first comeback win of the season. His consistency helped him to forge a third-set tiebreak victory against the Australian who won more points and finished the match without being broken.
A powerful forehand winner sealed Isner’s win. He will next face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Kevin Anderson in the previous round. The Greek dismissed the South African serve quite easily, but Isner isn’t coming back from a long injury. The American leads 2-1 their head-to-heads record, but the Greek has beaten him in their most recent clash in Beijing last season.
In that quarter-final match, Tsitsipas delivered 73% of first serves, winning 91% of those points in a match that featured no more than three break points combined. A lesson learned in time.
Victoria Azarenka v Alize Cornet | Azarenka leads H2H 6-0
Former champion Victoria Azarenka had to wait eight months to celebrate her first win of the season at the Western & Southern Open. And she managed to double her joy as a second straight-sets victory followed. She defeated Caroline Garcia to book her spot into the third round, winning 70% of her first serve points. She played solid, aggressive tennis, delivering 20 winners to eight unforced errors.
She will face another familiar Frenchwoman, Alizé Cornet, bidding to extend her perfect 6-0 record in their head to heads. Cornet stunned the reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Her coach, the former professional player Sandra Zaniewska, helped her to maintain her frustration under control. At 30 years, Cornet looks aware that managing her mental resources can have a greater impact than improving her forehand or her backhand. According to her coach, tennis and life are inextricably linked and results are often the consequences of a deeper, wider well-being.
Cornet began to practice visualisation on her own in recent years, but it might not be enough to stop a focused, determined mother who came here to rejuvenated public memories of her past years as a World No.1.
Play resumes at the Western & Southern Open at 11am (4pm BST).
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