When the US Open draw came out last week, everyone was talking about Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens in the fourth round - America's Top 2 players made that a reality on Friday.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Serena Williams booked her spot in the fourth round on Friday night, defeating Yaroslava Shvedova under the lights. Next up is what we've all been waiting for - Sloane Stephens.

But before all of that, the No.1-seeded Williams had to fend off the powerful, athletic Shvedova on Friday night - or on Saturday morning, perhaps - beating the Kazakhstani in an hour and 14 minutes, 63 61, blasting 22 winners to 16 unforced. The match wrapped up just after 1 o'clock in the morning.

Williams talked about the hours leading up to the match - they were second in the night session.

"I'm good at waiting," she said. "I just did my usual. I did my warm-up, went to the locker room, came up here - I just kind of sat. I watched TV on my iPad. I was watching I Love Lucy - for whatever reason, I've been watching that show a lot lately. Then that's it, I just warmed up and was ready to go."

The No.15-seeded Stephens, who won her third round match earlier in the day, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory at the Australian Open this year, coming from 63 20 down against an injury-hampered Williams to reach the semifinals - her breakthrough first Grand Slam semifinal.

How does Stephens feel about the looming match-up? "I think it will be a great match, obviously," she said. "We will probably play on Ashe, and it's something I think everyone is looking forward to.

"As I always say, I think it will be epic. I'm really looking forward to it."

Stephens was also asked about how she - and her game - have changed since that run in Melbourne.

"It's been such a learning experience," she said. "Everything from just playing tournaments I haven't played before, going places, learning rules about the WTA, learning things I didn't know - everything. The ball changes. How you can play with one ball one week, the next a different one. Things that you probably wouldn't ever know, but to me it's like, 'Oh yeah, I knew that in the back of my head.'

"Not anything drastic or anything that's dramatic, but just little things."

And is Stephens a better player since then? "I've improved a lot."

Williams even touted Stephens as one of the favorites to go all the way to the title this fortnight.

"Awesome. Coming from one of the greatest players to ever play the game, that feels really good," Stephens commented. "I think it's awesome. But if you don't really live up to it, it's a wash."

And what does Stephens think about Williams? "I just love how she's so competitive," she said. "She's going to bring it to you every single time. I love her fight. It's just nice to go out and watch her.

"Obviously she's No.1 in the world for a reason. She's very aggressive. She stays on top of you. Doesn't give you any room to breathe. She's intense. She knows what she wants to do out there.

"That's why she's No.1 in the world."