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Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova meet in U.S. Open first round

TENNIS-AUS-OPEN

Serena Williams of the US (R) shakes hands with Russia’s Maria Sharapova after winning their women’s singles match on day nine of the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 26, 2016. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The women’s draw was unveiled Thursday afternoon for the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year.

The other potential first-week blockbuster would be top-ranked and defending champion Naomi Osaka and 15-year-old phenom Coco Gauff in the third round, should each win their first two matches.

US OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

Williams, runner-up to Osaka in last year’s controversial U.S. Open final, takes her seventh crack at a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. She has yet to win a tournament since returning from life-threatening childbirth more than one year ago. But she has reached the final in three of her last five Slams.

Sharapova, whose ranking has fallen to 87th, has lost 18 straight matches to Williams. In what would have been their most recent meeting, Williams withdrew injured minutes before a 2018 French Open fourth round match.

They have never met before the round of 16 of any tournament. This will be their first U.S. Open matchup.

In the men’s draw, No. 3 Roger Federer was placed in the top half, meaning he would play No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a potential semifinal. No. 2 Rafael Nadal is in the other half, meaning he would only play Federer in a final.

The U.S. Open is the lone major where Federer and Nadal have never faced off.

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