Serena, Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster

Djokovic and Federer in same half

Serena Williams will begin her quest for a seventh US Open title and record-tying 24th Grand Slam crown against long-time rival Maria Sharapova in the US Open women’s singles draw unveiled on Thursday.

Serena has dominated the Russian star in their head-to-head, winning 19 and losing just two. Sharapova advanced by walkover against Serena in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.

Serena, Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster

 

The eighth-ranked Serena will look to match the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles won by Margaret Court when the year’s final Major gets underway on Monday.

The American was placed in the same quarter as Australian second seed Ashleigh Barty, the reigning French Open champion whose first match is against 77th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Top-seeded Osaka opens against Russia’s 93rd-ranked Anna Blinkova and could face the 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, who eliminated Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon, in the third round.

Romania’s fourth-seeded Halep, the Wimbledon winner, opens against a qualifier and could meet Osaka in the semifinal.

In the men’s event, top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic could face third seed Roger Federer in the semifinals and second seed Rafael Nadal in the final.

Nadal has Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem in his side of the draw.

Djokovic will play his first round match against Spain’s 76th-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena while Federer will open against a qualifier.

Nadal faces Australia’s 61st-ranked John Millman, who shocked Federer here in 2018, while Thiem meets Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano.

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