Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

US Open Tennis 2018: TV Schedule, Start Times for Sunday Night Draw

Joe Tansey

The third-seeded players in both the men's and women's draws of the 2018 U.S. Open take center stage under the lights Sunday. 

Defending women's champion Sloane Stephens can clinch a quarterfinal berth in Sunday night's first match against No. 15 Elise Mertens.

Juan Martin del Potro follows Stephens on the schedule at Arthur Ashe Stadium, as he looks to advance to his third Grand Slam quarterfinal of the season. 

Both No. 3 seeds enter Sunday night as favorites, per OddsShark, but they could face more difficult matches than expected against up-and-coming opposition.


U.S. Open Sunday Night Schedule

Matches start at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2

No. 3 Sloane Stephens vs. No. 15 Elise Mertens

No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro vs. No. 20 Borna Coric


Stephens Looking to Avenge Cincinnati Loss Against Mertens

Mertens won the first and only meeting between herself and Stephens in the round of 16 at the Western and Southern Open. 

The 15th-seeded Belgian knocked off Stephens in straight sets, with the second set featuring a more convincing win than the first-set tiebreak triumph. 

Since losing the second set of her first-round clash with Kurumi Nara, Mertens won five straight sets to secure her position in the round of 16. 

The round of 16 at the U.S. Open is new territory for the 22-year-old, who lost in the first round in New York in each of the last two years. 

However, Mertens has been better at the other three majors, and she reached the semifinals of the 2018 Australian Open before falling to Caroline Wozniacki. 

Although she's not as familiar with the second week of majors as Stephens, Mertens carries confidence into the match thanks to the win in Cincinnati.

From Stephens' perspective, all the pressure is on her to dazzle under the lights in front of a crowd that will have her back on every point. 

Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Stephens navigated through what could've been a tricky third-round clash with Victoria Azarenka by taking the match in straight sets after struggling through a three-set second-round win over Anhelina Kalinina. 

The 25-year-old American started her road to the 2017 championship in similar fashion, as she lost one set in the second round before reaching the round of 16. 

Stephens is hoping she faces an easier path from the round of 16 on than she did a year ago, as she was forced into three straight three-set matches to reach the final. 

If she learns from the mistakes she made against Mertens a few weeks ago, Stephens should be in good position to take Sunday night's opener in straight sets. 


Del Potro, Coric Square Off for 1st Time 

Del Potro, who won the 2009 U.S. Open, faces a new opponent in No. 20 Borna Coric in Sunday's final match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Del Potro sits in a favorable part of the men's draw compared to other top seeds, as he won't have to face No. 1 Rafael Nadal until the semifinals.

The Argentine's recent form suggests he has a good chance of reaching the final four, as he's advanced to the quarterfinals in three of the last four majors, with two of those ending up in semifinal appearances. 

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The third-seeded Del Potro is in good form, as he hasn't lost a set yet in New York, and he's eyeing up another shot at Nadal, who bounced him from the French Open and Wimbledon. 

The 21-year-old Coric is undoubtedly the underdog against Del Potro, but he has the potential to pull off an upset. 

In his final tuneup before Wimbledon, the 20th-seeded Croatian knocked off Roger Federer in the final of the Gerry Weber Open.

However, Coric struggled to find his form since defeating the 20-time Grand Slam champion, as he's 5-4 in his last five tournaments. 

Sunday marks the first time Coric is playing in a fourth-round match at a major, and he'll attempt to make up for his lack of Grand Slam experience by banking on the confidence gained from beating Federer. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ATPWorldTour.com and WTATennis.com.

Bleacher Report