US Open draw: Barty to take on 2010 runner-up Zvonareva in Round 1

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New York, Aug 27 (IANS) Wimbledon champion and world No.1 from Australia Ashleigh Barty, fresh off her Cincinnati success last week, will open against 2010 US Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva of Russia at the US Open beginning August 30.

The Australian could also face a second-round test against a fast-rising former junior world No.1, Clara Tauson if the 18-year-old Dane gets past Clara Burel of France, according to the draw released on Thursday evening.

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A projected quarterfinal against 2020 Roland Garros champion and No.7 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland is on the cards. Barty had defeated Swiatek in a thrilling third-round match in Madrid this May. Ahead of that, Swiatek would need to navigate a section that includes Cincinnati finalist Jil Teichmann of Switzerland and Olympic gold medallist and No.11 seed Belinda Bencic, also from Switzerland.

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova’s summer resurgence has seen the 2016 US Open finalist return to a top-4 seeding for the first time since the French Open last year. Runner-up in Rome, Wimbledon and Montreal this year, Pliskova will open against 19-year-old American Caty McNally, who memorably took Serena Williams to three sets at the Arthur Ashe Stadium two years ago. Looming in the fourth round for Pliskova could either be French Open finalist and No.14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia or the surging No.24 seed Paula Badosa of Spain.

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Pliskova’s projected quarterfinal opponent is the 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada. The No.6 seed returns to Flushing Meadows for the first time since lifting the trophy as a 19-year-old on her debut.

All eyes will be on defending champion and No.3 seed Naomi Osaka as she seeks to rediscover the form that has taken her to four hardcourt Grand Slam trophies to date. The Japanese player opens against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, and her projected third-round opponent is No.31 seed and last year’s quarterfinalist Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, who upset the Japanese twice in 2019 — including in the first round of Wimbledon.

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A first-round rematch of the 2017 all-American final is on the cards between Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Both former top-10 players are unseeded this year, and the winner could face the 17-year-old No.21 seed Coco Gauff in the second round.

Former world No.1 Simona Halep’s return from a calf injury will be tested in the first round as the Romanian, seeded 12th, opens against the powerful Italian Camila Giorgi, who scored the biggest title of her career two weeks ago in Montreal.

–IANS

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