Halep ready for Sharapova battle

Frances Tiafoe US Open
US Open 2017: Players under the most pressure on the women's draw

28 August, 2017

Since the U.S. Open is in the midst of an 11-year contract with ESPN, the two-week tennis major will be on ESPN for its entirety.

Three of the top five men in the rankings are out because of injuries: past champions Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

"I was so close many times", Halep said.

Nadal, a two-time US Open victor, will open against the tough Dusan Lajovic.

For Sharapova, the Broadway stage shines a spotlight on her comeback and controversy.

A back problem restricted Federer in the final but he has recovered sufficiently to face American teenager Frances Tiafoe in the first round at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.

Nadal has a winning record of 13-2 on clay and 8-5 on outdoor hard courts, while Federer leads the indoor hard courts 5-1 and 2-1 on grass.

The Romanian could claim the world number one spot after the US Open but first she needs to navigate a way past Sharapova after being handed a particularly tough opening assignment in NY. The Romanian, who starts off the action with an eye-catching first-round meeting with Sharapova, would dearly love to consolidate her emergence as one of the top women players in the game by celebrating her first Grand Slam win. Their biggest match was in the 2014 French Open final, which Sharapova won in three sets.

"I'm not looking for any confirmation or any relief because I've accepted the fact that from my first match, I'm going to have a tough battle".

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Between Kerber and Halep, the matter of Sharapova's wild card is an issue more pertinent to the latter.

"But I'll prepare myself the best way possible, so that I will have the best chance to really excel there in NY".

NEW YORK (AP) - If Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal finally are going to face each other at the U.S. Open for the first time in their long rivalry, it only could happen in the semifinals.

"She's a player like everyone else in the draw". But her form through the US Open Series suggests she will be tough to beat: a semi run in Toronto followed by a final finish in Cincinnati.

"When it comes to tennis, good or bad - there's really only one thing that I know for certain - I've missed it", Sharapova wrote on the Players' Tribune website.

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a forehand against Alexander Zverev of Germany (not pictured) during the men's final at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. We'll find out when they play each other on Monday.

I think [to] walk less and be in the street less, because it's so - I don't know. "She has a lot of experience and has also won many tournaments, so I think she's OK".

Possible women's quarterfinal matchups on the draw's bottom half include Halep or Sharapova against Johanna Konta; and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza against Caroline Wozniacki or Venus Williams, a seven-time major champion.

In the Women's side of the tournament it looks even more wide open with the absence of Serena Williams.

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