28 Aug 2015

Tough draw for Williams in Grand Slam quest

News Article

Photo: Ray GiubiloSerena Williams (USA)

Victory on home soil would see Serena Williams become just the fourth woman to win all four majors in the same year, but the American has been handed a tough draw in New York.

The world No. 1 is chasing her place in the history books alongside Maureen Connolly (USA), Margaret Court (AUS) and Steffi Graf (GER), but she could face Sloane Stephens or CoCo Vandeweghe in the third round and Madison Keys or Agnieszka Radwanska in the round of 16.

The top seed's route doesn't get any easier after that - Karolina Pliskova might be her scheduled quarterfinal opponent but she could well face up against the up-and-coming Belinda Bencic or even against big sister, Venus, in the last eight.

To top it all off, Williams landed No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova in her half, but she can take confidence in her impressive record against the Russian.

Unsurprisingly, the media attention is firmly focussed on the 33-year-old American, who could also take sole ownership of the record for most US Open titles and join Steffi Graf in second place for the most major titles if she wins her 22nd at Flushing Meadows.

But she said after the draw that she wasn't feeling any "fresh pressure" adding that she might start getting nervous if she approaches the final: "If I make it far, maybe I'll start to feel pressure. But as of now I really don't feel any. I'm just here to perform and do the best I can."

In the bottom half of the women's draw, No. 2 seed Simona Halep finds herself in the same quarter as Lucie Safarova, Victoria Azarenka and Timea Bacsinszky.

No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki is scheduled to meet No. 5 Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals, but there will be plenty of opposition to that happening from the likes of Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic to name but two.

In the men's draw, top seed Novak Djokovic will be pleased with the outcome as he avoids either Roger Federer or Andy Murray until at least the final.

The Serbian star may have to face up against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, but the Spaniard is no guarantee to make it that far with a tricky schedule that starts against the talented Croatian Borna Coric.

There could be a rematch of last year's final in the quarters this year as defending champion Marin Cilic finds himself in Kei Nishikori's quarter.

The bottom half of the men's draw features no less than four Grand Slam champions (three of which are former US Open titlists - Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Murray).

Great Britain's Murray lines up against Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the opening round in what will be a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal preview.

The US Open starts on Monday 31 August, with daily coverage and photos on ITFTennis.com.