The 2013 U.S. Open is still in its early stages, but there are already some exciting matchups forming that will force even casual fans to tune in.
In most seasons, there are only a handful of noteworthy players worth watching, and these stars would not face each other until the semifinals and finals. However, the depth across the sport has caused the exciting matches to occur even earlier in major tournaments.
While the fourth Grand Slam of the year is only going to get better as the tournament continues, these matches will hold fans over for the coming days.
No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 15 Sloane Stephens
As soon as Serena Williams advanced through the third round, the dream matchup between the two hard-hitting Americans was born, as noted by Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline:
In reality, there has been talk about this battle since before it was certain. Even Sloane Stephens herself said that "it will be epic," according to Jeff Williams of Newsday. Stephens also discussed how her upcoming opponent has been cold to her since the last time the two faced each other.
Stephens put herself on the map at the start of this season when she defeated Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The 20-year-old player has since reached at least the fourth round in every Grand Slam in 2013.
While Williams has built up an incredible 63-4 record this season with eight tournament titles, Stephens has the strength to give the top player in the world some serious trouble.
No. 13 John Isner vs. No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber
There are a number of quality matchups in the men's draw between two seeded players. However, none of them will be as thrilling to watch as the contest between John Isner and Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Isner is the top American in the tournament and should receive a boost from playing in his home country. However, the crowd appeared to cheer against him in his last victory over Gael Monfils, something the player was not happy about:
Still, he will hope to win the fans back with a strong showing against talented veteran Kohlschreiber.
The thing that will make this match interesting is that the two have similar styles on the court. They are both great at serving while they struggle in the return game. This could lead to another long match for Isner as each player will have a hard time earning a break.
Unfortunately, the winner of this match will likely face Rafael Nadal, so making a deep run will be hard to accomplish for either player in this draw.
No. 5 Li Na vs. No. 9 Jelena Jankovic
It certainly did not take long for two top-10 seeds to face each other at the U.S. Open. When Li Na and Jelena Jankovic take the court, it will pit together two veteran players who are both capable of making a deep run in this tournament.
Li is a former French Open champion who has done very well on hard courts this season, including a finals appearance at the Australian Open. While Jankovic has never won a Grand Slam title, she reached the finals of the U.S. Open in her career and is always a threat to win the bigger tournaments.
Both these players are exceptional in their return games and are especially strong against their opponents' second serves. This will create an interesting matchup as neither player will have an easy time holding serve.
These two veterans have split their eight career battles, so you can be certain that this ninth match will be a good one.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.