Serena Williams has beaten Maria Sharapova almost everywhere. In courts hard and soft, fast and slow, indoors and outdoors. Blue clay was a news site introduced for just a week in Madrid 2012; Williams made sure she also beat Sharapova there.
But Williams, 37, and Sharapova, 32, who met in the final of the other three Grand Slam events, have never played each other at the United States Open. It's going to change this year: Eighth-seeded Williams pulled the unseeded Sharapova in the first round of the women's singles competition in a Thursday afternoon ceremony.
Williams has won her last 1
Sharapova has missed most of the season with injuries and is ranked 87th, allowing such a star-studded match in the first round.
Williams and Sharapova landed in the lower quarter of the draw along with fellow seed Ashleigh Barty.
The defending champion and No. 1 seed, Naomi Osaka, leads the top half of the draw. Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American who had a breakthrough in Wimbledon in July, was able to play Osaka in the third round. Gauff starts with a fellow teenager: 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova from Russia.
Longtime rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have also never played each other on the U.S. Open. If this is to happen this year, it must be in the final. The third-seeded Federer was drawn into the top half of the draw by top seeded Novak Djokovic, the defending men's champion, who beat Federer in a classic Wimbledon final last month.
The next Nadal leads the bottom half of the draw, where he is joined by a number of top young players: No. 4 Dominic Thiem, No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas.