The draws for the tennis season’s final Grand Slam event were announced today in Flushing Meadows, New York. Defending women’s champion Serena Williams could face 20-year-old American Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, a rematch of their quarterfinal at the Australian Open won by Stephens.
Djokovic, of Serbia, and Murray, of Britain, are the last two men to win the U.S. Open. The two 26-year-olds have met in the finals of three of the previous four Grand Slam tournaments, including last year in New York.
“Coming into the U.S. Open last year I had never won a Grand Slam, I didn’t know if I was ever going to win one,” Murray said. “Getting that win off my shoulders at the U.S. Open was huge.”
This is the second consecutive Grand Slam in which Federer, a five-time champion in New York, and Nadal, the 2010 champion, have been dawn to meet in the quarterfinals. At Wimbledon, Federer lost in the second round to Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, then ranked No. 116 in the world, while Nadal fell in the first round to No. 135 Steve Darcis of Belgium. Federer’s loss snapped a record streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances.
Serena Williams, the women’s top seed, opens against 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy. Venus Williams, a two-time champion now ranked No. 60 on the WTA tour, will face 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the first round. The Williams sisters would meet in the quarterfinals should they both win their first four matches.
Stephens upset Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year, and Stephens later accused Williams of being disrespectful. Stephens, the No. 15 seed, could face Jamie Hampton, the third highest-seeded American, in the third round.
Djokovic will face Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the first round, while Nadal will face 21-year-old American Ryan Harrison, who gained entry into the tournament as a wild card.
Djokovic is the betting favorite at 7-4 to win his second U.S. Open, according to online sportsbook Bovada.lv, followed by Nadal at 5-2 and Murray at 13-4. Federer is fifth at 12-1. The four men have won 33 of the past 34 Grand Slam titles.
Serena Williams, a four-time champion, is the women’s title pick at 10-13. Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka is next at 7-2. No other women have odds better than 20-1.
The tournament is scheduled to begin Aug. 26 at the National Tennis Center.
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