Serena Williams’ quest for a 24th Grand Slam title will commence against fellow American Kristie Ahn; competition starts on Monday
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 27/08/20 6:32pm
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will face each other in the US Open first round, while Serena Williams’ quest for a 24th Grand Slam title will commence against fellow American Kristie Ahn.
British No 1 Konta, who has just secured a place in the Western & Southern Open semi-finals without dropping her serve, holds a three-love head-to-head record over her fellow Brit.
The duo last met in a competitive WTA match back in 2018 in Nottingham and have both been a part of the recent competitions at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton prior to returning to the tour.
The release of the US Open main draw went ahead on Thursday, despite play being paused at the Western & Southern Open as athletes protested against racial injustice following the police shooting of Blake in Wisconsin last week.
“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States,” a joint statement by the WTA, ATP Tour and USTA said.
“The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27. Play will resume on Friday, August 28.
The forthcoming Grand Slam, which begins on Monday, will be without six of the top-10 women’s players; the defending champion Bianca Andreescu and world No 1 Ash Barty are among those who will not be taking part.
The presence of Serena Williams means that the spotlight will continue to shine on her quest to equal Margaret Court’s record of holding 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
The younger of the Williams sisters has never faced her opening-round opponent before and holds 73 WTA singles titles, in comparison to Ahn’s zero.
US Open Women’s Draw – Notable First Round matches
|Naomi Oaska  vs Misaki Doi|
|Coco Gauff vs Anastasija Sevastova |
|Danielle Collins vs Anett Kontaveit |
|Nao Hibino vs Garbiñe Muguruza |
|Kristie Ahn vs Serena Williams |
|Heather Watson vs Johanna Konta |
|Kim Clijsters vs Ekaterina Alexandrova |
Williams is the third seed and if the early rounds proceed in line with the rankings, she will meet Sloane Stephens in the third round and then the player she last lost to, Maria Sakkari, in the fourth. Venus Williams will commence her campaign against Karolina Muchova.
Karolina Pliskova is the top seed and her first-round encounter will be with Anhelina Kalinina, while Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff could be in line for a potential third-round meeting for the third consecutive Grand Slam.
An abdominal injury caused the former world No 1 Kim Clijsters to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open however, she has remained in the ‘bubble’ and is hopeful to take full part in the US Open.
The wild card has great memories of Flushing Meadows after winning three of her four career slams there and the Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova will be her first-round opponent.