NEW YORK, NY, USA - The Round of 16 kicks off at the US Open on Sunday, with a blockbuster showdown between two Wimbledon champions and a return to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the only two US Open champions left in the draw, No.9 Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.
The Insider Team recaps the action on Day 6 and previews the four fantastic Round of 16 matches set to go on Super Sunday on the WTA Insider Podcast.
Here's what's on the slate for Super Sunday:
No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Petra Kvitova (Kvitova leads 2-1)
The marquee match of the Round of 16 kicks off the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, as Muguruza looks to keep her charge for the No.1 ranking going. The Wimbledon champion is the front-runner for the top spot after eliminating Simona Halep from the chase with her third round win on Friday. The Spaniard has looked dominant in New York. She has not lost a set and in four of her six sets she lost no more than one game.
Since a rollercoaster straight set win over Jelena Jankovic in her opener, Kvitova has looked just as dominant, losing just seven games in her last two matches against Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia. In fact, her 6-0, 6-4 win over Garcia was her best performance since returning to the tour.
Muguruza has not beaten Kvitova since 2015, with Kvitova winning both their meetings last season. The winner plays either Venus Williams or Carla Suárez Navarro in the quarterfinals.
No.9 Venus Williams vs. Carla Suárez Navarro (Venus leads 4-3)
A two-time Slam finalist this season, Venus Williams continues to do what she's been doing at the Slams, finding a consistent level to make her sixth consecutive Round of 16 at a major. She's now tallied 18 wins at the four Slams this season, compared to 14 wins across eight tour-level events in 2017. Venus could return to the Top 5 for the first time since January 2011 if she advances to the semifinals, and could finish as high as No.2 if she wins the title and other results go in her favor.
Venus' average rank of opponent through her first week was 93. Her highest-ranked opponent was No.48 Oceane Dodin. Her path will get decidedly more difficult starting with No.35 Suárez Navarro, who has won two of their four hard court meetings. A win and Venus would play either Garbiñe Muguruza - a rematch of the Wimbledon final - or Petra Kvitova.
No.30 Julia Goerges vs. Sloane Stephens (Stephens leads 4-1)
Two of the hottest players on tour square off here. Stephens is one of only two women to make back-to-back semifinals at the tour's biggest hard court events in Toronto and Cincinnati. Goerges has made three finals on three different surfaces in the last two months, including on hard court in Washington DC a few weeks ago. The two faced off in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati, with Stephens winning in straight sets.
Goerges is bidding for her first career Slam quarterfinal and is in the midst of a career resurgence thanks to a much-improved serve that has her second on the tour in aces behind Karolina Pliskova. She has not dropped a set so far and has been broken just once, but Stephens has always been a tough match-up for the German. She's taken just one set off the American in their five prior meetings. A win would put Stephens, who was out for 10 months after foot surgery, into her first US Open quarterfinal.
This matchup pits one of the best servers in the tournament against one of the best returners. Goerges leads the tournament in 1st serve points won (86%) and has been broken just once in 24 service games, the best clip of anyone left in New York. Meanwhile, Stephens leads the tournament in made returns (89%) and has won over half of her return games (17 of 32).
The winner plays either Maria Sharapova or Anastasija Sevastova.
No.16 Anastasija Sevastova vs. Maria Sharapova (first meeting)
It will be power vs. guile when Sharapova and Sevastova face off for the first time. Through three matches, Sharapova has fired 27 aces, second only to Pliskova's 28, and leads the tournament in outright winners - 137 - as well as return winners (22).
That's bad news for underpowered Sevastova, who can expect Sharapova to jump all over her second serve and any ball she leaves short. Where the Latvian can turn the tables is with her variety and tennis IQ. She can use her slice to move Sharapova around the court and turn the match into an uncomfortable grind. Sevastova knocked out Muguruza and Johanna Konta en route to a surprise quarterfinal last year.
As for Sharapova, the Russian wildcard came out of the gates firing against No.2 Simona Halep in her opening match, able to maintain an incredibly high level over the course of their memorable three-match encounter. Since then she has notched a three-set win over Timea Babos and a straight set win over 18-year-old American Sofia Kenin, but in neither match did she look as sharp as she did in her opener.