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Rivals Williams and Sharapova to face off in US Open first round

 

Favourite: Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles
Favourite: Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles

By Eleanor Crooks

Serena Williams will start her bid for a seventh US Open singles crown against familiar foe Maria Sharapova.

Williams' match-up with Sharapova is the pick of the women's first-round draw, which sees British No.1 Johanna Konta start out against Russia's Daria Kasatkina.

Sharapova upset Williams to win the Wimbledon title in 2004, a result which prevented the American from claiming a third consecutive title at SW19.

But 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Williams holds a convincing 19-2 lead in their head-to-head battles, with the 2012 Olympics, 2013 French Open and 2015 Australian Open among her final victories over the Russian.

Konta, the No.16 seed, has an awkward first-round assignment as Kasatkina has won their two previous meetings in Moscow and Dubai.

No.1 seed Naomi Osaka starts the defence of her title against Russia's Anna Blinkova.

Wimbledon sensation Cori Gauff has a fascinating first-round tie with Anastasia Potapova.

The 15-year-old reached the fourth round at SW19 and received a wild card to play at Flushing Meadows.

Britain has three players in the men's draw - Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie.

British No.1 Kyle Edmund, the 30th seed, meets Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar in the first round, while Evans comes up against Adrian Mannarino of France.

Norrie has been drawn against a qualifier ahead of what could be a second-round meeting with 15th seed David Goffin.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic, the No.1 seed, begins the defence of his title against Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena.

Djokovic is in the same half of the draw as five-time champion Roger Federer, who will play a qualifier in the first round, and is projected to meet the dangerous Russian Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-final.

Second seed Rafael Nadal has a tricky opening against John Millman, the Australian who beat Federer in four sets at the US Open 12 months ago.

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