By Craig Gabriel

NEW YORK: In what was the fourth latest start to a match at the US Open, Serena Williams played Yarolsava Shvedova about ten minutes before the witching hour. The reason for the very late starts was because the match before between Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Martin Del Potro went long than four hours and was a five set marathon.

Despite the fact that it was so late the vast Arthur Ashe Stadium was still about three quarters full which allowed the electric atmosphere, which has started from the previous match, to continue. Also, this was the start of a long weekend; the Labor Day Holiday had fans in a good mood.

“I don’t think I have ever played a match that is so late,” said Serena to the crowd. “Thank you guys for staying. It is real nice and it is a real good surprise.

There was generally no labouring around by Serena in the match. The first five games of the match stayed with serve till Serena broke the player from Kazakhstan and opened up a 4-2 lead. In the second set Serena saved a break point and gradually got the better of Shvedova, winning 6-3, 6-1 in 74 minutes.

“When you play a player like Shvedova you have to be ready; you have to be focused whoever you are playing,” said Serena.

It is the fourth round match that Serena will play which has a buzz around the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Serena will face rising American Sloane Stephens. Serena and Stephens played a tough match at the Australian Open last January. This will be their third meeting this year and the head to head is 1-1.

“I think it will be a good match. I think she’s playing really well.  I’ll have a really tough match,” said Serena. “I definitely don’t feel like I’m going in there as a favorite because she’s playing great, even though I’m playing good, too.  She really has nothing to lose and she excels in situations like that.  So I think she’ll be really good. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

“It will be good.  I definitely look forward to it.  Whatever happens, like I said, an American for sure will be in the quarterfinals, which is really good.  I think American women’s tennis is doing excellent.  I’m kind of excited about that.  It’s really, really exciting.”