Tennis can be a funny sport sometimes. Case-in-point, on a day that saw almost all its leading lights forced to do it the hard way, the only one who had it easy – Serena Williams – was the one with the least to celebrate. I guess that’s what happens when you knock out your sister.

Still even if Serena couldn’t find much cause to cheer, Friday’s meeting with Venus is still something we should celebrate. No, it didn’t give us particularly compelling tennis, but it’s hard to find a story more remarkable in sports than these two sisters, who came all the way from Compton to dominate the tennis world, and now in the last period of their careers, got to share the stage at their home major one more time. It doesn’t matter what the score was, that’s pretty damn special.

Here’s your three-to-see on day 6 at the US Open:

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [30] v Roger Federer (SUI) [2] – Second on Arthur Ashe

As sure as the sun rises, as sure we can be that it will set, and where Nick Kyrgios is involved, you can be sure Roger Federer will be asked about it. Particularly in the wake of another scandal involving the young Australian firebrand, something tells me the Swiss maestro will be happy to stop with the talking and just play the damn bloke. Certainly he’s got a lot to look forward to, as the Kyrgios that shows up against Federer is always ready to rumble, so much so that in the trio of three setters they’ve played (Federer leads 2-1), they’ve needed an incredible eight tiebreaks. Two vastly different offensive styles, expect an almighty tussle of power versus precision in the many first-strike points, and yes, at least one tiebreak.

Diego Schwartzman (ARG) [13] v Kei Nishikori (JPN) [21] – Fourth on Grandstand (Not before 5:00om)

The sort of match that can make you cramp-up just watching it, Nishikori-Schwartzman is the sort of match that makes you appreciate just how fit tennis players really are. Neither of these guys is going to win much with just their serve, and that means plenty of long, side-to-side rallies with both dudes just whaling on the ball. Leading the head-to-head 2-0, Nishikori definitely comes in the favourite, yet while he’ll be the one doing the dictating, Schwartzman was a quarterfinalist here last year for the reason, and will draw-out points while repeatedly asking the Japanese to come up with angles he’s not always comfortable hitting. Whether Schwartzman has enough to actually overcome Nishikori, we can only wait and see, but in either case, it’s sure to be one hell of a tussle.

Maria Sharapova (RUS) [22] v Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [10] – First Match, Night Session on Arthur Ashe (7:00pm start)

Looking to make the second week at the US Open for the first time in her career, Jelena Ostapenko is going to have to do it the hard way, against a former champion who desperately has a point to prove in Maria Sharapova. Two very evenly matched offensive baseliners, Ostapenko and Sharapova have already played one classic this year, a 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 affair in Rome won by the latter, and there’s every reason to expect they pick up right where they left off. Certainly both women will get in their licks, but if there’s one factor that will determine the match (other than simply hitting more winners), it will be their use of depth on returns to set up first-strike points, of which there will be plenty. Indeed, whether either woman seizes the momentum or they both trade it, this one is guaranteed to provide the fireworks.


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