Top seed Wang Qiang advanced to the semi-finals of the WTA Bronx Open, where she will meet Camila Giorgi.

Wang recovered from a first-set bagel to prevail 0-6 6-1 6-4 against Russian lucky loser Anna Blinkova on Thursday.

World number 18 Wang withstood a late fightback in the final set to move through to the final four of the WTA International event.

"I didn't have too much feeling in the first set," Wang said. "In the second set, I started again, so I found my way."

Next up for Wang is Italy's Giorgi, who eased past Alize Cornet 6-2 6-1 earlier on Thursday.

Katerina Siniakova – the fifth seed – saved two match points as she survived to beat wildcard Bernarda Pera 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in two hours, 27 minutes.

Siniakova will face Magda Linette for a place in the final after the Polish player outlasted Karolina Muchova 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Flushing Meadows was abuzz with excitement at the news Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in round one of the US Open.

Thursday's draw threw up an absolute humdinger of a tie between two of the greatest and most recognisable tennis stars of all time.

But there are plenty of other eye-catching matches in the first round of the final grand slam of 2019.

Below we have picked out six of the best to watch in New York.


SERENA WILLIAMS V MARIA SHARAPOVA

Undoubtedly the stand-out tie in the entire draw. There is little love lost between the two long-term foes, but the rivalry has been extremely one-sided. Sharapova's last prevailed against Williams way back in 2004 and, while the two have never faced off at the US Open, the Russian will need to roll back the years to end the drought.

ARYNA SABALENKA v VICTORIA AZARENKA

Sabalenka can be forgiven for cursing her luck at landing a daunting first-round tie with Belarus compatriot Azarenka, who she has never met in a competitive match. In a year that has seen her reach a career-high ranking of nine, a position she currently holds, a meeting with the former world number one straight out of the gate is not what she would have wanted as she aims to go beyond round four of a slam for the first time.

ALISON RISKE v GARBINE MUGURUZA

Two-time slam winner Muguruza faces a Riske-y tie in the opening round. The 29-year-old Riske has been consistently in the top 50 over the past six years and won the pair's past meeting in Tokyo in 2018.

RAFAEL NADAL v JOHN MILLMAN

On the face of it, this looks a complete mismatch, particularly as Nadal won their only competitive meeting at Wimbledon in 2017. But Australian Millman caused a mammoth upset at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago when he defeated Roger Federer to make the quarter-finals – his best result at a grand slam. He will be hoping for a repeat against three-time victor Nadal.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV v FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME

In a nice coincidence, two of Canada's finest young stars meet in a repeat of a 2018 first-round tie. On that occasion, Shapovalov consoled his good friend with a big hug after Auger-Aliassime was forced to retire in the third set with the opening two having been shared. Both men have been tipped for big futures and this one could be a cracker.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS v ANDREY RUBLEV

Tsitsipas' season has stalled after a brilliant start to 2019 that saw him reach the Australian Open semi-finals, where Nadal proved too big of a hurdle to overcome. A first-round defeat at Wimbledon was the precursor to a difficult hard-court warm-up for the Big Apple, which saw early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati – albeit he did reach the last four in Washington. Rublev was a quarter-finalist in Cincinnati, losing only to in-form Russian compatriot Daniil Medvedev, and as a fellow star of the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals he will fancy his chances of an upset.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova face a mouthwatering first-round tie at the US Open, while Novak Djokovic is on the same side of the men's draw as Roger Federer.

Williams will be a heavy favourite given her 19-2 head-to-head record over Sharapova, though it will be the first time the rivals have gone up against each other in New York.

The pair last met on court in the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals, where Williams was victorious, with a last-16 tie at the 2018 French Open a non-starter due to the American suffering a pectoral injury.

Sharapova has not defeated her illustrious foe in a match since 2004 and faces a monumental challenge against Williams, who was beaten in the final 12 months ago by Naomi Osaka.

Top seed Osaka's bid to defend her title at Flushing Meadows begins against Anna Blinkova, while Kiki Bertens is a potential quarter-final opponent.

Second seed Ashleigh Barty, who made a major breakthrough at Roland Garros, opens up against Zarina Diyas and faces a potential last-eight meeting with Williams.

Karolina Pliskova (3) and Simona Halep (4) each face qualifiers in round one, the latter on a potential last-eight collision course with Petra Kvitova (6). 

Defending men's champion Djokovic, aiming to win a third slam of 2019, faces the unheralded Roberto Carballes Baena first but could be set for a daunting run at Flushing Meadows.

Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, a man in form having reached the finals in Washington and Montreal while also winning the title in Cincinnati, is Djokovic's projected quarter-final opponent, while Federer may stand in the way in the semis.

Five-time champion Federer faces a qualifier first up, while on the other side of the draw Rafael Nadal has a tricky first-round tie with John Millman – who upset Federer in round four a year ago.

Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev could all prove potential road blocks for Nadal in the latter stages.

Coco Gauff built momentum ahead of the US Open by beating Ashleigh Barty in "the calm before the storm" on Wednesday.

Gauff, 15, surged into the limelight by becoming the youngest player in the Open era to advance through Wimbledon qualifying, before beating Venus Williams en route to reaching the fourth round in her first main-draw appearance at a major.

The teenager, who has been awarded a US Open wildcard, took on French Open champion and world number two Barty in an exhibition match during the ATP Tour's Winston-Salem Open and triumphed 6-4 2-6 10-8.

Gauff won four straight games as she took the first set, but the Australian hit back by taking a 3-0 lead in the second that helped her level the contest.

The super tie-break saw Gauff emerge triumphant and she was pleased to have got a solid win under her belt ahead of a first main-draw appearance in her home grand slam at Flushing Meadows.

"It was super fun. It's different to kinda play in an atmosphere like that and not be in a tournament. It was cool to play with Ash and hopefully we can do it again sometime," said Gauff.

"I'm kind of sad to leave [Winston-Salem] because New York is busy but it was good to get the calm before the storm."

Barty added: "It was a lot of fun. Coming here this week was the perfect way to prepare in a relaxing environment and have a little fun. The crowd was truly engaged and it was just the perfect way to get ready for the Open."

The final grand slam tournament of the year is almost here, as the US Open begins at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Novak Djokovic, the dominant force in men's tennis, will hope to defend his title, while Naomi Osaka is looking to rediscover her best major form at the scene of her first triumph.

Meanwhile, veterans Roger Federer and Serena Williams have records in their sights in New York.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the key numbers heading into this year's US Open.

 

Men's singles

4 - Djokovic has won four of the past five grand slams – Rafael Nadal claiming the only other title at this year's French Open.

2 - World number one Djokovic is bidding to become just the second man, after Federer (2004 to 2008), to defend his Flushing Meadows title in the 21st century.

35 - The oldest men's US Open champion in the Open Era was Ken Rosewall in 1970 at 35 years, 10 months and 11 days. Federer will be 38 at Flushing Meadows.

5 - Three men have won the tournament a record five times since the sport went professional: Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Federer.

8 - Djokovic only has three US Open titles but has played the joint-most finals in the Open Era (eight, along with Ivan Lendl and Sampras).

0 - The US Open is the only one of the four men's grand slams that has not seen a player claim the title without dropping a set in the Open Era.

61 - At least one of Djokovic, Federer or Nadal has made the semi-finals of every major since Wimbledon 2004, a streak of 61 tournaments.

 

Women's singles

3 - Having won back-to-back majors in the shape of last year's US Open and then the Australian Open, Osaka has not been past the third round at her past two grand slams, losing her opener at Wimbledon.

1 - But across the previous 16 grand slams, Osaka is the only female to have won consecutive titles.

33 - Williams, like Federer in the men's tournament, is aiming to become the oldest women's US Open champion of the Open Era at 37. The record belongs to 2015 champion Flavia Pennetta at 33 years, six months and 18 days.

2 - Simona Halep could become the first European since Kim Clijsters (2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open) to win consecutive grand slams.

24 - Williams has 23 grand slam crowns, the most of the Open Era, and another would see her draw level with all-time record holder Margaret Court.

10 - However, the American has not won any of the past 10 majors - her longest run without victory since 2002.

17 - The women's championship has been won without dropping a set on 17 occasions in the Open Era, most recently by Williams in 2014.

Bronx Open top seed Wang Qiang booked her place in the quarter-finals with a routine straight-sets victory over Fiona Ferro.

Wang, handed a bye in the first round, got her US Open preparations up and running in style, rounding off a 6-1 6-4 win in 68 minutes on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old converted six break points against the world number 72, as she hunts down a third WTA Tour singles title.

"I just tried to build my confidence for this tournament," world number 18 Wang said after her win – her first since a second-round victory over Tamara Zidansek at Wimbledon. "For me, it's preparing for the US Open, so I will try my best this tournament."

Wang will meet Anna Blinkova after the lucky loser overcame Mihaela Buzarnescu 1-6 6-3 6-3.

There were also wins for Magda Linette and Karolina Muchova, who will face each other in the last eight.

Barbora Strycova achieved her best grand slam singles result when she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, but the Czech is finding it tough to build on last month's unforeseen success.

Strycova lost in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and after a first-round bye at the Bronx Open this week the 33-year-old bowed out in her opening singles match.

The third seed – long considered a doubles specialist – was beaten 3-6 6-2 6-1 by American wildcard Bernarda Pera at the WTA International tournament played in the most northerly of New York City's five boroughs. The venue is a short drive from Flushing Meadows, which stages the US Open next week.

Italian Camila Giorgi came through a tough encounter with experienced German Andrea Petkovic, grinding out a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3) success.

Fifth seed Katerina Siniakova was on court for just 48 minutes, leading Anastasia Potapova 6-0 3-0 when the Russian qualifier retired.

It was one of two retirements with Zhu Lin also departing while trailing 7-6 (7-5) 4-0 to Alize Cornet.

American teenager Amanda Anisimova has pulled out of the US Open after her father died.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) confirmed the news and said it sent its "deepest condolences" to Anisimova, with fellow players also expressing sadness over the death.

Russian-born Konstantin Anisimov played a key role in coaching his 17-year-old daughter, who reached the French Open semi-finals in June.

No details of his death have been given.

Anisimova is ranked 24th by the WTA, climbing rapidly after beginning the year as the world number 95.

Fellow American teenager Coco Gauff, who Anisimova beat in the girls' singles final at the 2017 US Open, wrote on Twitter: "Deepest condolences to the Anisimova family during this tragic time"

Maria Sharapova was another to express her sorrow at the news.

Anisimova has been out of action recently because of a back injury but was hoping to play the final grand slam of the year.

The tournament begins next Monday, August 26, at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York.

Coco Vandeweghe's tough return from injury continued with a loss at the Bronx Open, where Andrea Petkovic upset a seed on Monday.

Vandeweghe returned in July after a 10-month injury absence, but the two-time grand slam semi-finalist is still looking for top form.

The American has lost three of four matches since making her comeback, the latest of which was a 6-3 6-0 defeat to lucky loser Anna Blinkova at the WTA International event.

Another former grand slam semi-finalist, Petkovic upset fourth seed Zhang Shuai 6-3 6-4 in the first round.

Petkovic will meet Camila Giorgi after the Italian brushed past Margarita Gasparyan 6-3 6-2.

Three seeds – Katerina Siniakova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Karolina Muchova – moved through, while Yulia Putintseva joined Zhang in exiting.

Other first-round winners were Fiona Ferro, Mihaela Buzarnescu, Kristie Ahn, Magda Linette and Anastasia Potapova.

Alize Cornet and Bernarda Pera cruised into the Bronx Open second round on a rain-hit Sunday in New York City.

Cornet recorded a 6-4 6-2 victory over Kateryna Kozlova at the inaugural edition of the WTA International tournament.

The Frenchwoman made it two wins in as many meetings with Kozlova, converting five of seven break points in a dominant showing.

In the day's only other main-draw match, Pera – a wildcard – breezed past Veronika Kudermetova 6-0 6-2.

Madison Keys sealed a place in her first hardcourt final since the 2017 US Open with a 7-5 6-4 win over compatriot Sofia Kenin at the Western & Southern Open on Saturday.

Keys hit a superb 41 winners in the all-American clash to book a final showdown with Svetlana Kuznetsova, who produced a dominant performance to see off world number two Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in Cincinnati.

Kenin saved set point in the opener against Keys before battling back from 5-2 down to 5-5, only for the world number 16 to claim back-to-back games and avert a tiebreak at the WTA Premier event.

Keys was twice a break down in the second set but combined grit with blistering attacking play to down Kenin, avenging a three-set loss in Rome earlier this year.

Kuznetsova is currently down at 153 in the world rankings after periods on the sidelines but has made the most of her wildcard in Cincinnati.

Despite slipping to 2-0 down in the opener, the two-time grand slam champion clicked into gear spectacularly and reeled off eight consecutive games – a forehand return winner on break point to go 5-2 up a particular highlight.

Barty belatedly held for 1-2 in the second to stop the rot but would never another good look at her opponent's serve. Indeed, Kuznetsova avoided giving up break point opportunities in any of her last eight service games.

The result prevented Barty from returning to number one in the WTA rankings after Naomi Osaka was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury in the quarter-finals.

Ashleigh Barty is one win away from returning to the top of the WTA rankings after world number one Naomi Osaka retired in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

Osaka only herself reclaimed top spot by reaching the last eight at the Rogers Cup, but defeat to Sofia Kenin at the same stage in Cincinnati would open the door for Barty.

And the Japanese star, having battled back after losing the first set, taking the second 6-1, was forced to retire at the WTA Premier event on Friday.

Osaka had required treatment to a knee injury and finally retired after being broken early in the third set.

Barty will now unseat Osaka if she advances to the final, having reached the last four with a stunning comeback victory over Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-2 6-0.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova's own hopes of reaching the summit – a possibility if Barty also fell by the wayside – ended as she crashed out to Svetlana Kuznetsova in another three-set contest.

 

BARTY FOCUSED ON TOURNAMENT SUCCESS

The ranking might be on the line for Barty, but she is happy to set that aside and focus on going as far as possible in Cincinnati.

"I'm just keeping my eye on the ball and, if I win matches, the ranking will take care of itself," she said after her win.

"We're excited to be in new territory here in Cincy."

Kuznetsova awaits the Australian and French Open champion.

 

OSAKA WORRIED AFTER BOWING OUT

It was not a good day for reigning US Open champion Osaka.

Osaka retired with a leg injury against Kenin, handing Barty the chance to return to the WTA summit.

It also means Osaka is under an injury cloud ahead of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, where she stunned Serena Williams last year.

"It sucks, especially since I didn't want to get injured this close to the Open," Osaka said. "And now I'm kind of worried a little bit.

"She was playing well. I had to really think about what I had to do during the match, so I'm not that mad at the result. The injured part sucks, but losing, it's not that big of a deal."

 

KUZNETSOVA WINS THRILLER AGAINST PLISKOVA

Two-time grand slam champion Kuznetsova outlasted third seed Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to reach the final four.

Kuznetsova was down a set with Pliskova serving for the match but the Russian rallied thanks to 30 winners and six aces in the gruelling two hour, 23-minute clash.

Meanwhile, Madison Keys vanquished seven-time major champion Venus Williams 6-2 6-3 to set up a semi-final with fellow American Kenin.

Madison Keys ended Simona Halep's chances of reaching another Western & Southern Open final, while Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty battled through.

A three-time runner-up in Cincinnati, Halep was edged by Keys at the WTA Premier event on Thursday.

The Romanian became the first top-four seed to fall, with Barty, Osaka and Karolina Pliskova booking their spots in the quarter-finals.

 

KEYS EDGES HALEP IN THRILLER

Keys, the American 16th seed, served 10 aces on her way to a 6-1 3-6 7-5 victory over fourth seed Halep in the third round.

Halep came from 3-0 down in the final set and saved a match point in the 10th game, but Keys broke again to claim her win.

Having lost finals in Cincinnati in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Halep fell short of reaching another decider.

Keys will face Venus Williams after the American veteran beat Donna Vekic 2-6 6-3 6-3.

 

BARTY, OSAKA MOVE THROUGH

Barty was pushed before getting past Anett Kontaveit 4-6 7-5 7-5 in two hours, 10 minutes.

The Australian found herself 5-3 down in the final set before winning four straight games to advance.

Barty will meet Maria Sakkari, who upset Belarusian ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

Osaka was also forced to three sets by Hsieh Su-wei before claiming a 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-2 victory.

Awaiting the Japanese star in the last eight is Sofia Kenin, who beat Elina Svitolina for the second time in as many tournaments with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory.

 

PLISKOVA, KUZNETSOVA PROGRESS

Pliskova, the 2016 champion, is yet to drop a set and was too good for qualifier Rebecca Peterson 7-5 6-4.

The Czech will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova after the 34-year-old wildcard crushed Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-2.

Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep battled into the last 16 at the Western & Southern Open, while Ashleigh Barty crushed Maria Sharapova.

Osaka is back at world number one and the Japanese star moved through her second-round match at the WTA Premier event in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Like Osaka, Halep – a three-time runner-up – was tested, while Barty needed less than 90 minutes to thrash Sharapova.

 

OSAKA, HALEP PUSHED TO THREE

Osaka needed more than two hours to overcome Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-2 in the second round.

She had won her previous three meetings with the Belarusian in straight sets, but was pushed at the hard-court tournament.

Osaka will next face Hsieh Su-wei, who got past qualifier Jennifer Brady 7-6 (11-9) 6-3.

Halep, a finalist at the event in 2015, 2017 and 2018, came from a set and a break down to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6 7-5 6-4.

The Romanian will meet Madison Keys, who eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-1.

 

BARTY BRUSHES PAST SHARAPOVA

A surprise last-32 loser at the Rogers Cup, Barty dominated Sharapova in a 6-4 6-1 victory.

The Australian broke serve four times during her 40th win of the season while continuing Sharapova's rough 2019.

Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion, holds just an 8-6 win-loss record in 2019.

Barty will meet Anett Kontaveit, who was too good for Polish teenager Iga Swiatek 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

 

PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA THROUGH ON GOOD DAY FOR SEEDS

Champion in 2016, Karolina Pliskova was untroubled by Wang Yafan, winning 6-1 6-3.

Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka, the ninth seed, cruised past Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-3.

Elina Svitolina will face Sofia Kenin after their 6-4 6-1 wins over Elise Mertens and Zarina Diyas respectively, while Sloane Stephens and Donna Vekic – who beat Victoria Azarenka – progressed along with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Rebecca Peterson.

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