Ser­ena, Djokovic and Nadal start Mon­day at the US Open

The China Post - - SPORTS -

World No. 1s Ser­ena Wil­liams and Novak Djokovic will launch their bids for the U.S. Open ti­tle on Mon­day’s first day of com­pe­ti­tion, tour­na­ment or­ga­niz­ers an­nounced Fri­day.

In a Twit­ter post­ing, the tour­na­ment said top halves of brack­ets on both the men’s and women’s draws would play matches on the first day of com­pe­ti­tion.

That means three-time de­fend­ing cham­pion Wil­liams, try­ing to com­plete the first cal­en­dar-year Grand Slam since St­effi Graf in 1988, will meet Rus­sia’s Vi­talia Di­atchenko on day one, likely in a fea­ture match on Arthur Ashe Sta­dium and quite pos­si­bly in the night ses­sion opener.

Wil­liams, com­ing off her fourth con­sec­u­tive ma­jor ti­tle last month at Wim­ble­don, seeks her 22nd ca­reer Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle, which would match Graf for the all- time Open Era record and move her two shy of Mar­garet Court’s all-time record of 24.

Djokovic, seek­ing his sec­ond U.S. Open crown, will face Brazil’s Joao Souza in his opener on Mon­day while his pos­si­ble quar­ter­fi­nal op­po­nent, Span­ish star Rafael Nadal, be­gins Mon­day against Croa­tia’s Borna Coric.

The other top half quar­ter of the men’s bracket will see Ja­panese fourth seed Kei Nishikori, last year’s U.S. Open run­ner-up, face France’s Benoit Paire in his first match while de­fend­ing U.S. Open men’s cham­pion Marin Cilic, a ninth seed from Croa­tia, opens against Ar­gentina’s Guido Pella.

The tricky quar­ter-bracket with Wil­liams also fea­tures her older sis­ter Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam cham­pion, meet­ing Puerto Rico’s Mon­ica Puig in round one.

Rus­sia’s Maria Shara­pova, who has 18 losses in 20 meet­ings with Ser­ena Wil­liams but could face her again in the U.S. Open semi­fi­nals, launches her ti­tle bid against Aus­tralia Daria Gavrilova.

No ex­act times have been an­nounced for any matches on Mon­day.

In past years, the U.S. Open sched­ule has seen the men play the first round over three days and set up a “Su­per Satur­day” with the men’s semi­fi­nals and women’s fi­nal.

But t hat sched­ul­ing was scrapped in fa­vor of mak­ing sure the men and women each have an off day ahead of the cham­pi­onship match, which did not hap­pen in the “Su­per Satur­day” for­mat.

Among the in­ter­est­ing openers that will not be played Mon­day are Swiss sec­ond seed Roger Fed­erer against Ar­gentina’s Leonardo Mayer, Bri­tish third seed Andy Mur­ray against Aussie bad boy Nick Kyr­gios and Swiss fifth seed Stan Wawrinka against Spa­niard Al­bert Ramos-Vi­no­las.

Kyr­gios sparked out­rage af­ter com­ments to Wawrinka dur­ing a match about his girl­friend hav­ing pos­si­bly been un­faith­ful.

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