“But for sure she’s the best player in the world because she won so many Grand Slams,” Halep added in reference to Williams, who is a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion. “She’s been a lot on No. 1. I cannot compare my results to her. But in this moment, I am confident that I am in this position, and I’m positive about it.”
Monday’s blockbuster match is a product of a draw that has been almost devoid of major upsets, with seven of the top eight women reaching the fourth round (No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki lost to five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in the third round).
That steadiness by the favorites represents an abrupt arrival of order to women’s Grand Slam tennis: at Wimbledon last year, only one of the top eight reached the fourth round; at the United States Open, only three did.
Pliskova, the only player seeded in the top 8 to make the second week at the last three Grand Slams, could face the winner of the Halep-Williams match in the quarterfinals. She is looking forward to which of the two it might be.
“For sure, the best match now in the draw,” Pliskova said.
The men have also had a steady ride to the round of 16, with six of the top eight seeded players reaching the second week, including the top four.
But those four all have tough challenges directly ahead of them. The top-seeded player, Novak Djokovic, faces No. 15 Daniil Medvedev, whose ranking has soared from No. 65 since the beginning of last season. Rafael Nadal, who is seeded No. 2, faces resurgent veteran Tomas Berdych, who beat him in straight sets here in 2015, which was their most recent meeting on hard courts.
Roger Federer, seeded No. 3, faces No. 14 Stefanos Tsitsipas, the young Greek who won the ATP’s Next Gen competition in Milan in November. And the player seeded No. 4, Alexander Zverev, faces No. 16 Milos Raonic, who has already knocked out Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka en route to the second week.