Williams sis­ters could meet in U.S. Open early

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - BRIAN MAHONEY

NEW YORK Ser­ena and Venus Williams could be headed to their ear­li­est Grand Slam meet­ing in 20 years, fac­ing a po­ten­tial thir­dround matchup at the U.S. Open.

If the sis­ters do play each other, the win­ner might face No. 1-ranked Si­mona Halep in the fourth round.

That sec­tion of the women’s bracket and a pos­si­ble Roger Fed­erer-No­vak Djokovic quar­ter­fi­nal show­down on the men’s side pro­vided the most in­trigue when the brack­ets were revealed Thurs­day for the last ma­jor of the year.

This marks Ser­ena’s re­turn to Flush­ing Mead­ows af­ter miss­ing the hard-court tour­na­ment last year. She gave birth to her daugh­ter last Sept. 1.

The 36-year-old Amer­i­can has won six of her 23 Grand Slam ti­tles at the U.S. Open and was given the No. 17 seed by the U.S. Tennis As­so­ci­a­tion.

Venus, who won five of her seven Grand Slam sin­gles tro­phies in New York, is ranked and seeded 16th. She faces a tricky first-round match against Svet­lana Kuznetsova, whose two ma­jor cham­pi­onships in­clude the 2004 U.S. Open.

Kuznetsova was given a wild­card en­try, with main-draw play be­gin­ning Mon­day.

Ser­ena’s opener comes against 60th-ranked Magda Linette of Poland. Should the Williams sib­lings both make it to the third round, they would play each other at a Grand Slam tour­na­ment sooner than they have since Venus beat Ser­ena in the sec­ond round at the 1998 Aus­tralian Open, their first head-to-head match on tour.

They’ve gone on to play 29 times — Ser­ena leads 17-12 — in­clud­ing nine Grand Slam fi­nals, most re­cently at the 2017 Aus­tralian Open.

In the men’s field, No. 1-ranked and de­fend­ing cham­pion Rafael Nadal opens against David Fer­rer in an all-Span­ish re­match of their 2013 French Open fi­nal. No. 2 Fed­erer plays Ja­pan’s Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka in the first round.

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