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U.S. Open tennis: Williams-Keys, Gauff-Osaka possible matchups after draw

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Aug. 28 (UPI) — The 2020 U.S. Open will lack a bit of star power because some tennis greats have opted out of the Grand Slam over COVID-19 concerns. But the tournament draw still reveals several potential elite clashes.

Officials announced the men’s and women’s singles draws Thursday. The tournament runs from Monday to Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y.

Men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and women’s No. 3 Karolina Pliskova are the top seeds for the singles tournament. Men’s defending champion Rafael Nadal and 2019 women’s champion Bianca Andreescu will not play in the tournament, which ensures a new champion in 2020.

The 2020 champions will receive $3 million each. Second-place finishers each will receive $1.5 million.

Djokovic — a three-time U.S. Open champion — will face Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in the first round Monday. His section of the draw includes potential matchups against No. 10 David Goffin, No. 17 Denis Shapovalov and American John Isner (No. 21).

World No. 3 Dominic Thiem is the No. 2 seed in the men’s singles bracket. He will face Spaniard Jaume Munar in the first round. Thiem’s section also features No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 30 Milos Raonic, No. 37 Marin Cilic and Andy Murray.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev is the No. 3 seed and has No. 8 Matteo Berrettini, No. 14 Andrey Rublev, No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 22 Benoit Paire in his portion of the bracket.

Stefanos Tsitsipas drew the No. 4 seed. His section features world No. 7 Alexander Zverev and No. 33 Borna Coric. Tsitsipas (No. 6) will face Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas in the first round while Zverev drew South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in his first match.

Pliskova will start her quest for the women’s singles title with a first-round clash with Anhelina Kalinina. Women’s No. 14 Petra Martic, No. 19 Alison Riske and No. 23 Angelique Kerber are in Pliskova’s section of the bracket.

World No. 4 Sofia Kenin will start her quest for her second career grand slam when the American battles Yanina Wickmayer on Monday. The No. 2 seed shares her section of the singles bracket with Venus Williams, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 22 Elise Mertens and Kim Clijsters.

Serena Williams’ quarter of the bracket may feature the most-known names on the women’s tennis circuit. No. 13 Madison Keys, No. 16 Garbine Muguruza, No. 21 Maria Sakkari, No. 28 Amanda Anisimova, No. 37 Sloane Stephens and Monica Puig are among the players in that group of 32.

Osaka owns the No. 4 seed in the women’s singles bracket. The world No. 10 last won the tournament in 2018 and could face American teen phenom Cori “Coco” Gauff as early as the third round.

Osaka beat Gauff in straight sets in the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open before Gauff returned the favor in the third round of January’s Australian Open. World No. 12 Petra Kvitova is also in the group of 32 with Gauff and Osaka.

The 2020 U.S. Open women’s singles final is scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 12. The men’s singles final will be at 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 13.

Who won’t play

Five of the men’s Top 15 players will not participate in the tournament. Those players are: No. 2 Nadal, No. 4 Roger Federer, No. 9 Gael Monfils, No. 11 Fabio Fognini and No. 15 Stan Wawrinka.

Federer has five U.S. Open titles, tied with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for the most in the Open era. Nadal has won two of the last three Grand Slams in New York.

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and No. 2 Simona Halep were the most-prominent names absent from the women’s singles draw. No. 5 Elina Svitolina, Andreescu, No. 7 Kiki Bertens and No. 8 Belinda Bencic are among the top women’s players who will not be in New York.

The French Open is the next Grand Slam scheduled, starting Sept. 27 in Paris. Wimbledon, which had been planned for June 29 to July 12, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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