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Rediff.com  » Sports » US Open: Nadal could face Federer in semis, Sharapova draws Halep

US Open: Nadal could face Federer in semis, Sharapova draws Halep

Last updated on: August 26, 2017 15:44 IST

Rafael Nadal

World No 1 Rafael Nadal will open his US Open campaign against Serbian Dusan Lajovic as he looks to finish the year of on a high note.

 

Among other top players, Briton Andy Murray will face American Tennys Sandgren in the first round, while World No. 3 Roger Federer will start his US Open campaign against young American Frances Tiafoe.

One can expect Nadal and third-ranked Roger Federer to renew their long rivalry after the duo have been drawn to face each other in the blockbuster semi-finals of the US Open.

Nadal, who has begun his fourth stint in numero-uno position, has never locked horns with 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer on the New York hard-courts in the final major of the season.

Although 15-time Grand Slam champion Nadal leads his career rivalry with Federer 23-14, the Swiss tennis maestro has won their previous four meetings, including this year's Australian Open final.

Nadal, who is bidding to clinch his third US Open title, could face France's Richard Gasquet in the third round before he is likely to meet Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych in the fourth round and seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarter-finals.

Federer could cross swords with Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round and Austrian seventh-seed Dominic Thiem in the last-eight encounter.

Murray, who had held the top spot for 41 weeks since November 7, 2016 before losing it to Nadal, will possibly meet French 16th seed Lucas Pouille in last-16 and eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarter-finals.

German fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who has five titles this year and is one of the favourites to win the year's final grand slam, opens against a qualifier and could face Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic in the quarters.

In the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova's return to grand slam action will begin with a high-profile clash against Romanian second seed Simona Halep.

For Sharapova, a former world number one and five-time grand slam champion who returned from a 15-month doping ban in April and was awarded a wild-card invitation to the US Open, it will mark her first match since pulling out of the Stanford Classic three weeks ago with an arm injury.

The 30-year-old Russian, who was banned after testing positive for heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, has had mixed results since re-joining the WTA Tour and will need to be at her best early to keep alive any hope of her first title at Flushing Meadows since 2006.

Defending women's champion Angelique Kerber has a tricky test as she takes on Japan's Naomi Osaka in the opening round and could face red-hot Elina Svitolina, who won a tune-up event at Toronto, in the quarters.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who is one of the favourites and fresh from her triumph at the Cincinnati Open, could face former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters.

Czech world number one Karolina Pliskova, runner-up at last year's tournament, will play her first round against Poland's Magda Linette and is projected to play 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last eight.

This year's US Open will be without several top contenders, with defending champion Stan Wawrinka, two-time US Open winner Novak Djokovic, Japan's Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up, and Canada's Milos Raonic all pulling out of the tournament due to their respective injuries.

US Open, the final Grand Slam of the season, starts Monday, August 28, at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

Image: Rafael Nadal

Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images           

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