Top-ranked Serena Williams will meet two-time major semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova in the first round of the U.S. Open as the American seeks a record 23rd Grand Slam title.
Makarova made two straight major semis at the 2014 U.S. Open, losing to Williams, and the 2015 Australian Open. Her ranking has slipped to 36th, and she just missed a seed at Flushing Meadows. The Russian is coming off an Olympic doubles gold medal.
Williams could face fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals, which is also when she could potentially meet sister Venus.
Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber and French Open winner Garbine Muguruza are in the other half of the draw, which was set Friday.
American Sloane Stephens has withdrawn from the U.S. Open because of a right foot injury. The announcement Friday means that Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig becomes the 32nd and final seed, as Stephens had been seeded 24th. Had Puig remained unseeded, she could have met one of the top players in the first or second round.
On the men’s side, top-ranked Novak Djokovic faces 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the first round. Janowicz has been ranked has high as 14th but has struggled in recent years and missed much of this season because of injuries. He’s currently ranked 228th and used a protected ranking to get into the U.S. Open.
Friday’s draw set Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as potential semifinal opponents, while Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are in the other half of the bracket. Olympic silver medalist Juan Martin del Potro could face 19th-seeded American Steve Johnson in the second round. Ranked No. 142 because of three left wrist surgeries, the 2009 U.S. Open champ got in with a wild card.