All the key facts and talking points as third-round play commences at the first Grand Slam of the season.
Alex Macpherson
January 17, 2019

LEARNING

2008 champion Maria Sharapova leads the overall head-to-head with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, though on hard courts the Dane leads 4-3 and in Grand Slam play 2-0, both matches coming at the US Open. Sharapova won their first two encounters in Doha and Rome in 2008; Wozniacki took the next two at the 2010 US Open and Indian Wells 2011. Sharapova then took three victories in a row at Rome 2011, Miami 2012 and Indian Wells 2013 before Wozniacki responded with two wins in 2014, at the US Open and WTA Finals. Sharapova then took their most recent meeting 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of Madrid in 2015; after their first five matches were won in straight sets, four of their last five have gone the distance.

All Top 8 seeds have reached the third round for the first time in a Slam since Wimbledon 2009. At that tournament, the Top 8 in order were Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva and Victoria Azarenka.

Petra Kvitova has yet to drop a set to Belinda Bencic in two meetings. The Czech won 7-5, 6-4 in the 2013 Tokyo third round and then 6-2, 6-4 in Fed Cup first-round play last year.

Last year's US Open saw a record three Belarusians reach the third round - Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka. Today, Sabalenka and Sasnovich have a chance to set a new national milestone: if both win their third-round matches today, it will be the first Slam to feature two Belarusians in the second week.

Ashleigh Barty and Maria Sakkari have split their two matches so far. Barty won 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 in the first round of the Taipei City 125K at the end of 2016 - the Australian's third event of her comeback to the game that year - but the Greek got her revenge in the first round of Indian Wells last year 6-4, 6-2.

Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki - US Open 2014 - Getty
Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki shake hands after the Dane's 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win in the fourth round of the 2014 US Open (Getty)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is undefeated against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with both victories taking place last year - 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round of Miami and 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of Tokyo.

It's déjà vu for Sloane Stephens in terms of previous head-to-head against No.31 seed Petra Martic today. The American had been 1-0 against her second-round opponent Timea Babos before Wednesday, with the win coming 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in 2012 - and she is also 1-0 against Martic, with that victory coming 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in 2013 (in the first round of Cincinnati).

Maria Sakkari is bidding to become the first Greek player to make the second week of a major since Eleni Daniilidou, who reached the fourth round of three Slams: Wimbledon 2002, the 2003 Australian Open and the 2004 US Open. Sakkari is 0-4 in Grand Slam third-round matches to date.

Also seeking to make debut appearances in the second week of a Grand Slam are 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, wildcard Kimberly Birrell and Danielle Collins, who had been winless in five previous majors before this week. A win over Aryna Sabalenka would make Anisimova the first 17-year-old to reach the second week of a major since Belinda Bencic's quarterfinal run at the 2014 US Open.

TRENDING

READING

Interviewing Serena Williams's coach Patrick Mouratoglou for ESPN, Simon Cambers finds out why the 23-time major champion is "fitter and mentally stronger than she was in 2018".

17-year-old Anastasia Potapova won her first Grand Slam main draw match this week - and despite the narrative of an aging sport, feels youth is on her side. "I don't feel the pressure at all, I am just feeling the power. This power of youth is really helpful for me," the Russian told Sudipto Ganguly in an interview for Reuters, continuing: "Especially when you are playing women of over 30 years of age, you just know that you are more fresh. I am 17 and I can run five sets and go and practise after that for two hours. I know my opponent will get tired sooner."

However, another teenager was outfoxed by an older opponent when No.13 seed Anastasija Sevastova ended the run of this year's breakout sensation Bianca Andreescu. The Latvian "wields the racquet like a switchblade, adept at the carved slice, the delicate dropshot, the slashing forehand," writes Joel Drucker for tennis.com.

ORDER OF PLAY

Click here to view Friday's order of play.

WATCHING