NEW YORK —
She took all the space away from fellow American Jamie Hampton, commanded the court with her ferocious forehand and never let down for a moment.
Stephens needed only 63 minutes to beat the 23rd-seeded Hampton, 6-1, 6-3, on Friday and reach the fourth round at the
Williams, the defending champion, quickly finished off 78th-ranked
"It's gonna be tough," said Williams, 31. "Sloane's playing so well. Regardless, there will be one American in the quarterfinals. I'm real proud of Sloane. It's going to be a great match."
Stephens, an on-the-rise 20-year-old ranked 16th and seeded 15th here, beat Williams in the quarterfinals at the
Williams battled ankle and back injuries in that three-set loss, but it still rankled the world's No. 1 player, who has lost to only two other players this year — second-seeded
"It's something I think everyone is looking forward to," Stephens said after her match and before Williams'. "I think it will be epic. I'm really looking forward to it. We'll see what happens."
Hampton, 23, had nothing but praise for Stephens.
"She was moving well side to side," Hampton said. "I had her pinned once in the corner and wanted to hit a drop shot and make her move forward. Obviously it didn't work out too well for me."
Even so, Hampton said she felt Stephens had played "much more" aggressive tennis at Wimbledon. She declined to say whom she would favor in a Williams-Stephens match Sunday.
Defending men's champion
Djokovic, who had played his first match at night, said the day session court conditions were tricky. Wind was gusting and Djokovic said he had to make adjustments.
"You have to be alert," he said. "The wind was not consistent. It was changing directions all the time. . . . I feel it was a big test for me today. It was a challenge and I needed to overcome it."
Tim Smyczek, a 25-year-old wild-card entrant from Milwaukee, is now into the third round after he beat Russia's
Smyczek, who had never been past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament, said he wasn't feeling disbelief. "It just took me a long time," said Smyczek, who next plays 43rd-ranked
"So far, so good," said Smyczek, who isn't talkative, and isn't one to head out on the town. "If I'm able to stay awake until the take-out food gets to my room, then I'll eat some," he said.