A clash of divas will highlight women’s first-round action at the US Open after Maria Sharapova was drawn on Thursday to face Serena Williams.

The pair of former No. 1 players have a fierce rivalry – at least off the court, where they have long been divided into opposing camps when it comes to the high-profile pair.

Williams owns the series on paper, boasting a 19-2 record with the American winning 18 straight meetings dating to 2005; Sharapova last beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams in the Women’s Final in Melbourne in 2015. Photo: Lucas Wroe, International Sports Fotos Ltd

Their last scheduled clash ended in a walkover for Sharapova at Roland Garros last year.

Both veterans – Williams turns 38 within days – come in after dealing with injury problems: Williams withdrew form Cincinnati last week while Sharapova managed to win only one round before exiting.

Eighth-seeded Williams and No. 87 Sharapova have never played in New York.

Holder Naomi Osaka takes the top seeding a year after beating Williams in a controversial women’s final while Australia’s French Open champion Ash Barty takes the second seeding.

Osaka starts with Russian Anna Blinkova, 20, who reached the Bronx tune-up event quarter this week

The top quarter also features US teenager Coco Gauff, who announced her presence with a first-round Wimbledon defeat of Venus Williams last month.

The Florida youngster stats against Russian Anastasia Potapova.

Former Wimbledon winner Simona Halep – the current holder and fourth seed – and two-time champion Petra Kvitova, seed sixth dominated the second quarter of the draw.

Maria Sharapova at the 2019 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/arckimages.com/UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

Barty plays here first round against t Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

The men’s draw contains the usual seeded suspects, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal sitting at the top and bottom respectively with third seed Roger Federer drawn into the Djokovic half.

Between them, the “Big 3” have won the last 11 Grand Slam titles and 54 in total.

Djokovic will play Spain’s Roberto Caraballes Baena while Nadal faces Australian John Millman; Federer, who won five straight titles here from 2004-2009,  is drawn against a qualifier.

Djokovic will play Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round and could face

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the fifth seed who won the Cincinnati title at the weekend after finals in Washington and Montreal, stands in Djokovic’s section, with a possible quarter-final between the pair upcoming.

Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the Cincinnati semis and also beat the world No. 1 in Monte Carlo in April.


Leave a Reply