NEW YORK — Serena and Venus Williams have been drawn into a potential third-round matchup at the US Open, which would be their earliest Grand Slam meeting in 20 years.
If the sisters do play each other, the winner could face No. 1-ranked Simona Halep in the fourth round.
That is the most intriguing possible matchup to emerge in the women’s and men’s brackets at Thursday’s draw for the last major of the year.
In a new ad, Serena lets everyone know that playing in the US Open isn’t a comeback at all. She’s been here for years.
Venus Williams is not letting a disappointing season get in the way of her US Open aspirations.
Serena Williams was the highest-paid female athlete for a third consecutive year in 2018, according to an annual list published by Forbes on Tuesday that was dominated by tennis players.
This marks Serena’s return to Flushing Meadows after missing the hard-court tournament in 2017. She gave birth to her daughter last Sept. 1.
She has won six of her 23 Grand Slam titles at the US Open and was given the No. 17 seed by the U.S. Tennis Association — nine places above her current ranking. Venus is seeded 16th.
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 US Open.
Kuznetsova was given a wild-card entry for the tournament, where main-draw play begins 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 very first head-to-head match on tour.
They’ve gone on to play a total of 29 times — Serena leads 17-12 — and that includes nine all-in-the-family 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 Roger Federer plays Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round.
Federer faces a potential quarterfinal against No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion who beat him two weeks ago in a tuneup and is considered the tournament favorite. No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev and seventh-seeded Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, are also in Federer’s half of the draw along with No. 30 seed Nick Kyrgios, the Australian whom Federer could meet in the third round.
Nadal isn’t sure there is a favorite with so many playing well entering the tournament.
“Of course Novak and Roger, they are doing very well and especially they like the hard courts,” Nadal said during the draw ceremony by the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. “Let’s see. Let’s see what’s going on.”
Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 US Open champion who missed last year’s tournament because of injury and was given a wild card into this year’s field, faces No. 8 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in one of the headline matches of the first round. Wawrinka, a three-time major titlist, eliminated Dimitrov in the first round at Wimbledon in June.
Nadal’s half of the draw includes No. 3 seed and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro — who could face another former U.S. Open champion in Andy Murray in the third round — and fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson, the Wimbledon and US Open runner-up.
Besides Federer-Djokovic, the other possible men’s quarterfinals are Nadal-Anderson, Del Potro-Dimitrov and Zverev-Cilic.
Women’s No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki faces 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur in the first round. Sloane Stephens, the defending champion, is the No. 3 seed and could face former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
Potential women’s quarterfinals include Halep vs. No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, Wozniacki vs. No. 5 Petra Kvitova, Stephens vs. No. 7 Elina Svitolina, and No. 4 Angelique Kerber vs. No. 6 Caroline Garcia.