Serena Williams could face Maria Sharapova for her second straight major semifinal as she seeks to complete the Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

Thursday's draw filled the top-ranked Williams' quarter of the bracket with Americans, nine in all.

In the third round, Williams could face 29th-seeded Sloane Stephens, who beat her in the 2013 Australian Open and is coming off her first WTA title in Washington this month. Another up-and-coming U.S. player, 19th-seeded Madison Keys, could await in the fourth round.

InfographicSerena and the SlamsStoryU.S. Open tennis TV schedule

And in the quarterfinals, one potential opponent is her sister, 23rd-seeded Venus Williams. Another possible quarterfinal foe is 12th-seeded Swiss teen Belinda Bencic, who recently upset Williams in Toronto en route to a breakthrough title.

Williams is seeking to complete the first Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. She beat Sharapova in the semifinals of Wimbledon for her 17th straight victory over the Russian on the way to her second "Serena Slam" -- four major championships in a row, but just not in the same year.

Second-seeded Simona Halep and fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who lost to Williams in last year's U.S. Open final, are in the other half of the draw.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

On the men's side, second-seeded Roger Federer and No. 3 Andy Murray could meet in one semifinal, with No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 Kei Nishikori, last year's runner-up, in the other.

Djokovic could face Rafael Nadal, who's seeded just eighth, in the quarterfinals. Nadal has a tough first-round match against fast-rising 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, who just missed out on a seed with a ranking of 35th in the world and last year won their only head-to-head meeting.

Murray has an intriguing opening match with another young player who just missed out on a seed, 37th-ranked Nick Kyrgios.


The 20-year-old Australian comes into the U.S. Open with controversy swirling around him, facing a provisional suspension from the ATP for comments made to Stan Wawrinka in Montreal. During their match Aug. 12, a courtside microphone picked up Kyrgios saying that fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis had slept with a player who reportedly is now Wawrinka's girlfriend.

Kyrgios has given Murray little trouble on the court, losing in straight sets in this year's Australian and French Opens.

Nishikori could face defending champ Marin Cilic, who's seeded ninth, in the quarters in a rematch of last year's final.