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Tennis

Federer, Nadal on semi-final collision course at US Open

Federer, Nadal on semi-final collision course at US Open

AFP


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World number one Rafael Nadal and third-ranked Roger Federer have been placed in the same side of the draw for the US Open and are on course to meet in the semi-finals of the final Grand Slam of the year.

Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam champion who won this year's Wimbledon and Australian Open titles, has never faced Spanish legend Nadal on the New York hardcourts at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal, a 15-time major champion who this year won his 10th French Open title, owns a 23-14 edge in his career rivalry with Federer, but the Swiss has won their past four meetings, including at this year's Australian Open final.

Nadal begins his quest for a third US Open crown after 2010 and 2013 against Serbian Dusan Lajovic. He could face Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the third round, a foe he has defeated in all 15 of their previous meetings.

The 31-year-old Spaniard could meet Czech Tomas Berdych in the fourth round and Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.

Tough run for Federer

Federer, 36, opens his run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight against American Frances Tiafoe and could meet Australian Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round as well as Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

British second seed Andy Murray plays American Tennys Sandgren in his first match with French 16th seed Lucas Pouille a possible round of 16 opponent and French eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga potentially awaiting him in the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Zverev and Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic are also possible last-eight opponent

The field is missing several top contenders due to injury, including defending champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, two-time US Open winner Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Japan's Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up, and Canada's Milos Raonic.

Sharapova to face second seed Halep

In the women’s draw former world number one Maria Sharapova's return to grand slam action will begin with a first-round clash against second seed Simona Halep.

For Sharapova, a five-times grand slam champion who returned from a doping ban in April and was awarded a wild-card invitation to the US Open, it will mark her first match since pulling out of the Stanford Classic earlier this month with an arm injury and her first Slam since returning the WTA Tour.

The 30-year-old Russian, who was banned after testing positive for heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, has had mixed results since re-joining the WTA Tour and will need to be at her best early to keep alive any hope of her first title at Flushing Meadows since 2006 against the in-form Romanian.

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