Serena Williams, recovering from a shoulder injury that contributed to her third-round exit at the Rio Olympics, has drawn Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova in the first round of the US Open.
The 34-year-old, seeking to break her tie with Steffi Graf for most grand slam singles titles in the Open era on 22, has a 4-1 career record against Makarova, but lost to the Russian in the fourth round at the 2012 Australian Open.
Williams is in a strong quarter of the draw that also includes fifth seed Simona Halep of Romania and 16th-seeded Sam Stosur, who beat the American in the 2011 US Open final.
Rounding out the women’s draw, second seed Angelique Kerber, who nearly unseated Williams as world No.1 but lost in the Cincinnati final, appears to have a comfortable early path.
Kerber, who opens against Polona Hercog of Slovenia, is seeded for a quarters clash against seventh seed Roberta Vinci of Italy, who shocked Williams in last year’s Open semi-finals.
The German’s potential semi-final opponent comes from a more impressive quarter of the draw that includes third-seeded French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Olympic champion Monica Puig, Briton Johanna Konta and big-hitting American Madison Keys, the eighth seed.
In the other quarter in Serena’s side of the draw, the leading seeds are Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland (4) and Venus Williams (6), who will aim for a semi-finals encounter with her sister.