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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova set to clash in the first round of the US Open as women's draw revealed

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 22 Aug 2019
  • The women's draw for the 2019 US Open has been released
  • Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova to clash in the first round
  • Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu on potential collision course
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will face off at the US Open for the first time

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in the first round of the 2019 US Open.

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The official draw for the women's singles at the 2019 US Open has been released ahead of the start of main-draw play on Monday 26 August and several high-profile first-round clashes are dominating tennis fans' reaction to it. 

Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams will face fellow US Open winner Maria Sharapova in the first round - the first time in their history that the two will have played at the fourth major of the year.

Williams, who holds the record for most US Open singles titles in the Open Era jointly with Chris Evert and has won 23 majors overall, is seeded eighth after having risen to world no. 8 following her run to the finals of Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Sharapova is currently ranked world no. 87 after missing large chunks of the 2019 season due to injury.

Drawing a top seed in the first round is not an unfamiliar experience for Sharapova since returning from her doping suspension - she faced, and defeated, second seed Simona Halep in the first round of the US Open in 2017.

But she has a considerably less favourable history against Williams, having won just two of their 21 matches and on an 18-match losing streak against the American. They have never played at the US Open before, and this will be their first meeting since the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open, when Williams defeated Sharapova 6-4, 6-1. They were due to play at the French Open last summer before Williams pulled out due to injury.

Williams landed in the quarter of the draw headlined by French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, with 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber also a potential quarterfinal opponent.

Venus Williams is also set for an intriguing first-round test as she faces San Jose champion Zheng Saisai, with the winner likely to face fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who recently made her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.

Both Cincinnati champion (and 2017 US Open finalist) Madison Keys and rising American Sofia Kenin, who defeated Serena Williams at the French Open, could be fourth-round opponents for Svitolina or Williams, with 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova likely to await in the quarterfinals.

At the top of the draw, Naomi Osaka will begin her US Open title defense against Anna Blinkova.

Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier in July, is a potential third-round opponent for Osaka and 13th seed Belinda Bencic could await in the round of 16.

Osaka is seeded to meet Madrid champion Kiki Bertens in the quarterfinals, but the winner of a blockbuster first-round clash in this section between ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka and two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka could also be a significant threat.

The remaining quarter of the draw is led by Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and sixth seed Petra Kvitova. Kvitova has been struggling with a forearm injury in recent months and could meet either 2018 US Open champion Sloane Stephens or perhaps former winner Svetlana Kuznetsova - who could face Stephens in the second round, in a rematch of their Cincinnati clash which Kuznetsova won easily - in the round of 16.

Halep opens against a qualifier and is seeded to meet Wimbledon semifinalist Barbora Strycova in the third round, with two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki or teenage Canadian star Bianca Andreescu, champion at Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup in 2019, in the fourth round.

Here are the projected quarterfinals according to seeding:

(1) Naomi Osaka vs Kiki Bertens (7)
(4) Simona Halep vs Petra Kvitova (6)
(5) Elina Svitolina vs Karolina Pliskova (3)
(8) Serena Williams vs Ashleigh Barty (2)

Main-draw play at the 2019 US Open begins on Monday 26 August at 11am local/4pm BST.

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova set to clash in the first round of the US Open as women's draw revealed

Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams and 2006 winner Maria Sharapova will clash in New York for the first time at the 2019 US Open as the women's draw reveals blockbuster first-round clashes

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