New York (AFP)

No warm-up round at the US Open for American Serena Williams who, in her quest for a 24th record Grand Slam title, will face in the first round the Russian Maria Sharapova, according to the draw made Thursday in New York and which was much more lenient for the male favorites.

Titan and Nov. 1, Novak Djokovic will begin his campaign at Flushing Meadows (August 26-September 8) against Spaniard Roberto Carballes (N.76), while in the second half of the table, Rafael Nadal (N .2) will play against Australian John Millman (N.61).

Roger Federer (N.3) will qualify against a qualifier in the first round, aiming a semifinal against Djokovic. The latter, before, should find on his way the man in great shape of the moment, the Russian Daniil Medvedev (N.5) who has reached the finals of the last three tournaments on hard he played with the key to his first title in Masters 1000, in Cincinnati.

In their last duel, Djokovic and Federer played an epic match in the final at Wimbledon where the Swiss lost in the 5th set super-break, leaving the Serb to clinch his 16th title in a Major. Djokovic has won the US Open three times (2011, 2015 and 2018), while Federer has five titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Nadal, whose theoretical semi-final will face him with the Austrian Dominic Thiem (N.4) he beat in the last two finals of Roland-Garros, hopes a fourth at Flushing Meadows after those of 2010, 2013 and 2017.

- Obstacle for Tsitsipas -

On the other hand, Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas (N.8) will see an obstacle coming up on his way in the person of the Russian Andrei Rublev (N.47), who remains on a victory against Federer in the 8th in Cincinnati.

French side, the tricolor N.1 Gael Monfils (N.13) will have to get rid of Spanish Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas (N.50), while Lucas Pouille (N.26) will have to beware of Philip Kohlschreiber (N .72).

Richard Gasquet (N.34 after his semifinal in Cincinnati) will have to face the Italian Matteo Berrettini (N.25), as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (N.66) who will face the American Tennys Sandgren ( N.73).

Easier a priori for Benoît Paire (N.30) who will be against the Canadian Brayden Schnur (N.92).

On the women's side, the youngest sister Williams, now 8th in the world, will be looking for her 7th title at the US Open at the age of 37.

Finalist at Wimbledon in July and Flushing Meadows last year, Serena Williams hopes to equal at home the record of 24 Grand Slam titles held by Margaret Court. She will have to start to discard Sharapova, 32 years old and she also ex-N.1 world now 87th in the WTA rankings.

- Advantage Serena -

Statistics are clearly in the advantage of the American who leads 19 wins to 2 in his duels with the Russian. In addition, Serena Williams won the US Open in 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014, while Sharapova, 32, won in 2006.

World No.1 Naomi Osaka will start defending her title against the Russian Anna Blinkova (93) and could face in the third round the American Cori Gauff, called Coco, 141st world but who received a wild card after creating the sensation at Wimbledon by eliminating Venus Williams in the first round. She had then reached the round of 16 for her first participation in a Grand Slam tournament.

The Japanese will find theoretically in the semifinals the Romanian Simona Halep (4th) who remains on a title at Wimbledon.

In the second part of the table, that of Serena Williams, is the Australian N.2 World Ashleigh Barty, winner at Roland Garros and who will face Kazakhe Zarina Diyas (77th) to start.

French No.1 Caroline Garcia (28th at WTA), will be opposed to start Tunisian Ons Jabeur (61st), an opening much easier than for Kristina Mladenovic (53rd) who fell on the German Angelique Kerber (14th) and ex-N.1).

© 2019 AFP