Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic Headline Tuesday’s Sweet 16 Matchups at Western and Southern Open
After walking the tightrope on Monday, there will be no rest for the weary on Tuesday as the round of 16 kicks off with several big names playing for the second consecutive day at the Western & Southern Open.
Two-time champion Serena Williams, who squeaked past Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus in three sets on Monday will be back for an even bigger battle, as Greece’s Maria Sakkari awaits.
The 23-time major champion admitted she hit a wall on Monday against the pesky World No.72, but true to form she dug deep and worked her way out of a jam to come away with the victory against Rus. The 38-year-old leads all active WTA players in three-set winning percentage and Monday marked the 165th time that Williams pulled out of a decider successfully in her legendary career.
“Physically I feel like I'm incredibly fit,” Williams said in a virtual press conference after the match.
Williams later admitted that she struggled to survive in the sweltering New York heat. She hopes to handle the heat better on Tuesday.
“I did hit a wall today in the second set,” she said. “I was so hot. That never happens. So I think physically I'm fit. Tennis is mental. You know, it's all mental.”
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev will kick off Tuesday’s action on Grandstand. The Russian is riding a seven-match winning streak at the Western & Southern Open after powering past American Marcos Giron on Monday, 6-4 6-4.
Medvedev is not too worried about defending his title at the moment. He’s more focused on facing qualifier Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday, and taking one day at a time.
“You cannot really defend points because you can only win them,” he said.
Resurgent Andy Murray will also be back in action on Tuesday after he edged fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev in three tight sets to book his place in the round of 16 at a Masters 1000 for the first time since the spring of 2017. The 33-year-old Scot will face Milos Raonic of Canada, a player that he has won eight straight against.
“I was satisfied obviously to get through it, get a win against a top player after having not played for such a long time,” Murray said in a virtual press conference on Monday evening. “Yeah, get another opportunity to compete tomorrow, and that will give me a good idea of where my body is kind of at.”
In total, five former Western and Southern Open champions will be in action on Grandstand, including Vera Zvonareva the 2006 women’s singles champion. The 35-year-old Russian qualifier, a former World No.2, is the lowest-ranked player in the round of 16 with a current ranking of 270. She’ll face Great Britain’s Johanna Konta.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic rounds out the lineup on Grandstand on Tuesday. The 2018 Western and Southern Open champion will take on American Tennys Sandgren in the third match of the day. Djokovic stretched his current winning streak to 22 on Monday by defeating Ricardas Berankis 7-6(2) 6-4.
See Tuesday’s complete order of play here