Five things to watch on Saturday at the U.S. Open: Venus and Serena, del Potro in action
NEW YORK – All third round matches are scheduled to be completed on Saturday at the U.S. Open. Here are the matches and storylines you’ll want to keep an eye on, whether you're watching on TV or roaming around the grounds in Flushing Meadows. Play begins at 11 a.m. ET and coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. The full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play for Friday can be found here.
The Williams sisters
Both Serena and Venus will be in action on Saturday, vying for a spot in the fourth round. Serena will face Sweden’s Johanna Larsson (not before 1 p.m. ET, Arthur Ashe) and Venus will play 26th-ranked Laura Siegemund (7 p.m. ET, Arthur Ashe). While the world’s top player on the women’s side should continue to cruise, Venus could face a tough could become locked in a battle with Siegemund, who beat American Nicole Gibbs in the previous round.
Aside from the normal reasons to watch Nick Kyrgios—the perpetual self-scolding, nonchalant winners and spats with the chair umpire—he’ll be especially worth keeping tabs on against Ilya Marchenko (second night session match, Arthur Ashe). The Australian is dealing with a hip issue, which he has received treatment on during his past two matches, and he’s also got a lot at stake. Kyrgios, 21, has a chance to advance to his first fourth round at the U.S. Open and a potential match-up against No. 3-seed Stan Wawrinka awaits. That match would catapult Kyrgios back into the spotlight—and no doubt stir up some old feelings about a certain incident—but it would also give himself a chance to prove his worth.
A rain delay on Thursday forced many day matches to the night session, and several players played well into the night, past 11 p.m. ET. Any time there’s a disruption in a player’s schedule, things can feel a little off. David Ferrer, who finished up his five-setter around 12:35 a.m., could be particularly affected in his much-anticipated match against Juan Martin del Potro (third match, Louis Armstrong).
The Big guy vs. the little guy
Sadly, a great story, and an even better story will come to an end in this one. 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic, a 6’11” skyscraper who shattered a tournament record with 61 aces in round one will face off against 19-year-old American qualifier Jared Donaldson, who comes in at just 6’2”. There’s a large difference in size and age here, but given the early success of both, it should be a pretty even match (fourth match, Court 17).
Normally a story at the U.S. Open like Donaldson’s would be all anyone talked about, but so many Americans have had impressive starts that it’s actually gone somewhat unnoticed. The teenager from Rhode Island upset 12th-ranked David Goffin in the first round and then defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki to advance. On Saturday, he’ll have a chance to take down the No. 21 seed in big-serving Karlovic. Make sure you catch this one.
China’s Zhang was incredibly impressive on Thursday, easily disposing of No. 16-seed Sam Stosur in just one hour and 10 minutes with a flurry of perfectly-placed forehand winners. Serena looms in the fourth round, but if you want to catch a glimpse of Zhang in action, check her out in her third round match against World No. 50 Yaroslava Shvedova on Saturday (second match, Court 5).
More matches to watch: No. 2-seed Andy Murray takes on Italy's Paolo Lorenzi (third match, Arthur Ashe) and No 8-seed Dominic Thiem will face Pablo Carreno Busta (first match, Grandstand). In the women's draw, No. 5-seed Simona Halep starts off the day on Arthur Ashe vs. 31st-seeded Timea Babos and No. 10-seed Karolina Pliskova looks to continue her seven-match win streak, stemming from her title in Cincinnati, against No. 17-seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.