Six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams and 2006 U.S. Open winner Maria Sharapova will face off in the opening-round match
The female tennis professionals have gone head to head during numerous final matches throughout their careers and in the 2012 Olympics, ESPN reported, however this will be their first time facing off at the annual Flushing Meadows event.
The last time the two played one another was in the 2016 Australian Open, though they were scheduled to compete during the fourth round of the 2018 French Open before Williams pulled out due to a pectoral muscle injury, according to the WTA.
The women’s singles draw was released Thursday, announcing that Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, would be facing off against Sharapova, who won the event in 2006, during the opening-round match on Monday.
No. 8 seed Williams has a leg up on Sharapova, with a 19-2 record in the pair’s WTA rivalry.
Williams, 37, hopes to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. However, her recent injuries are raising questions about her performance ahead of the U.S. Open. Earlier this month, Williams withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters, and her final match of the Rogers Cup in Toronto both due to a back injury.
As for Russia’s Sharapova, 32, she was forced to retire for the first time in her career at Wimbledon this year with a left forearm issue, according to CNN. Her appearance at Wimbledon 2019 was only her second tournament since she had shoulder surgery in January, NBC News reported.
In another series of firsts, No. 3 seed Roger Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal have yet to face off in the Big Apple. If the famed tennis professionals both make it in the final, they may have the chance to break their streak, according to ESPN.
The entirety of the tournament will be broadcast on both ESPN and ESPN2.
While live coverage doesn’t kick off until 11 a.m. EST on Aug. 26, tournament play will continue over the following two weeks, ending with the women’s singles final on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. EST and the men’s singles final on Sunday, Sept. 8, also at 4 p.m. EST.