US Open: Murray on course for a last four clash with Nadal
Andy Murray found a familiar figure standing in his way when the draw for the US Open was made in New York yesterday.
For the sixth grand slam in a row, the British number one was placed in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who will begin the defence of his title next week.
The pair have met in the semi-finals three times during that run, with world number two Nadal winning all of them, twice at Wimbledon and once at the French Open.
There is a long way to go before another meeting is assured, of course, but Murray's path to the last four does not look too daunting.
First up for the Scot (pictured) is Indian Somdev Devvarman, the world number 64 and last year's gold medallist in the men's singles at the Commonwealth Games, while big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase is a probable second-round opponent.
The third round is likely to bring a rematch with Spain's Feliciano Lopez, well beaten by Murray in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, before another clash with 14th seed Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Swiss is the one major obstacle in the fourth seed's path, and Murray will be only too aware of the danger after a shock third-round exit to Wawrinka here 12 months ago.
Were the 24-year-old to pass that test he is seeded to meet sixth seed Robin Soderling, but the Swede has so far missed the entire US hard court stretch with a wrist injury and former champion Juan Martin Del Potro could well come through instead.
John McEnroe, speaking at the draw ceremony, talked up Murray's chances of breaking his grand slam duck, saying: "The hungriest man in the draw should be Murray. I think this is his best shot to win one."
Nadal opens up against Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev and is in the same quarter of the draw as David Ferrer and Andy Roddick. Novak Djokovic faces a qualifier in the first round.
In the women’s singles, all eyes were on where Serena Williams — seeded 28th — would be drawn, and fourth seed Victoria Azarenka was the unlucky player, with the pair scheduled to meet in the third round.