Canada's Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov to meet in 1st round of U.S. Open

Canada's Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov to meet in 1st round of U.S. Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the U.S. Open for the second year in a row.

The draw for the final Grand Slam of the season was held today in New York.

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated Auger-Aliassime last year when the Montreal teen retired because of heat exhaustion.

Auger-Aliassime has since risen to become the top-ranked male in Canadian tennis and enters the tournament as the 18th seed.

Auger-Aliassime beat Shapovalov in their only other tour-level meeting at an ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event earlier this year in Madrid.

On the women's side, 15th seed Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga Ont., was drawn to face American 17-year-old wild-card Katie Volynets.

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount Que., will face 12th-seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

In other men's first-round matches featuring Canadians, 21st-seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., will face Chile's Nicolas Jarry, Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., will meet France's Benoit Paire, the No. 29 seed, and Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil will take on ninth-seed Karen Khachanov of Russia.

Meanwhile, Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., was knocked out in the second round of men's qualifying. He lost 7-5, 7-6 (0) to Sumit Nagal of India on Thursday.

Toronto's Steven Diez has advanced to the final round of qualifying on Friday. He'll face No. 3 qualifying seed Soonwoo Kwon of Korea.

Serena, Sharapova to square off

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will finally meet in the U.S. Open, and they'll do it in their very first match.

A long-awaited Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal showdown could come only in the final.

Williams and Sharapova, past U.S. Open champions and two of the biggest stars in women's tennis, were scheduled for an opening-round matchup when the draws were conducted Thursday for the final major of the year.

Williams and Sharapova have met in the finals of the other three majors and the 2012 Olympics but have never played each other in the U.S. Open. Williams owns a 19-2 record in their WTA Tour matchups and has won 18 in a row, but that lopsided number shouldn't do much to dampen the hype around what will be the marquee match of the opening round at Flushing Meadows, which starts Monday.

Williams will begin another bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova isn't the same player she was when she won the 2006 U.S. Open championship — or beat Williams two years earlier in the final at Wimbledon — but remains one of the most popular players among fans in New York.

She was given a wild card into the tournament two years ago shortly after returning from a doping suspension and promptly scheduled for a match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she upset No. 2 seed Simona Halep. U.S. Open officials kept putting Sharapova on the main court in her next couple of matches, drawing complaints from some players who felt an unseeded player wasn't worthy of such a prime position.

That shouldn't be a problem this time, as a Williams-Sharapova matchup is too big for anywhere other than Ashe.

They haven't played since the 2016 Australian Open. They were scheduled to meet last year in the fourth round at the French Open in what was Williams' first major tournament after returning to tennis following the birth of her daughter, but she pulled out of the match with a pectoral muscle injury.

The men's draw sent No. 3 seed Federer into the top half, meaning he could play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. They met in a classic final at Wimbledon, where Djokovic won in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal have never played each other in New York and could do so this year only if both make the final.

Djokovic might have to beat both to repeat as U.S. Open champion — and could face a tough obstacle just to get there with a potential quarterfinal against No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev upset Djokovic in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open en route to the title in what was his third straight week reaching a final.