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Beyond the Baseline

U.S. Open Day 7 preview

Based off of her first three matches, Li Na looks primed to make a deep run. [Clive Brunskill/Getty Images] Based off of her first three matches, Li Na looks primed to make a deep run. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 7 of the U.S. Open. CBS begins its coverage at 11 a.m and Tennis Channel picks up the night session at 7 p.m. Click here for the order of play.

Storylines

Serena vs. Sloane 3.0: Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens face off in the third match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Read my full match preview here. After a dicey opening-round win, Stephens has been hitting the ball big and clean over her last two matches. Williams' motivation is not going to be a problem in this one after she lost to Stephens in the Australian Open quarterfinals in their last meeting. Only three players have defeated Williams in back-to-back Grand Slam meetings: Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams, and Samantha Stosur. Can Stephens become the fourth?

Li Na darkhorse: Through the first three rounds, no top player on the women's side has been more impressive than Li. She hasn't dropped a set and looked remarkably clean in her no-drama win over Laura Robson in the third round. Could she be the one to spoil the Serena-Victoria Azarenka party? She takes on Jelena Jankovic (second night match, Arthur Ashe Stadium) in a match that has long three-setter written all over it. They've split eight matches, but Jankovic has won their last three meetings.

The lone American: Wisconsin's own Tim Smyczek, ranked No. 109, is the last American man in the draw after John Isner and Jack Sock lost in the third round Saturday. Smyczek, 25, plays No. 43 Marcel Granollers of Spain (third match, Grandstand). If he fails to extend his career-best result at a major, this will mark the first time in the Open era (which began in 1968) that an American man would fail to make the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Smyczek is the only thing standing in the way of another deluge of articles about the demise of American men's tennis.

Lleyton's revival: Lleyton Hewitt, 32, pulled off the upset of the tournament so far on the men's side with his five set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. If he gets past 102nd-ranked Evgeny Donskoy, he would advance to the fourth round of a Slam for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open.

Matches to watch

Tommy Haas vs. Mikhail Youzhny (third match, Louis Armstrong Stadium): With Hewitt's win over del Potro, Novak Djokovic's quarter of the draw looks less daunting. His most dangerous quarterfinal opponent would be the 35-year-old Haas. The 12th seed hasn't lost a set yet, but fellow one-handed backhander Youzhny, 31, will test him. Their head-to-head record is 4-4, but Haas won their last match, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 at the French Open in June.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Ekaterina Makarova (fourth match, Louis Armstrong Stadium): Makarova hasn't won a set off Radwanska in three matches, but she looked to be hitting the ball well in her win over Sabine Lisicki in the third round.

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