Tennis: Guide to US Open top seeds' rivals

Djokovic (left) will meet world No. 89 Joao Souza (right) for the first time.
Djokovic (left) will meet world No. 89 Joao Souza (right) for the first time.AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - AFP Sport looks at the players drawn to face the top stars at the US Open which starts at Flushing Meadows on Monday:


Novak Djokovic versus Joao Souza

First meeting - World No. 89 Souza, 27, from Brazil hasn't won a tour match since February. Even worse, Souza has never won a main draw match at a Grand Slam in his nine years as a professional.

Roger Federer versus Leonardo Mayer

Federer leads series 1-0 - Argentina's Mayer just missed out on a seeding with a world ranking of 33. The 28-year-old failed to convert five match points against Fededer in last year's Shanghai Masters second round, the pair's only previous meeting.

Rafael Nadal versus Borna Coric

Coric leads series 1-0 - Two-time champion Nadal has a tough opener against the world No. 35. Coric, just 18, defeated the Spaniard in the quarter-finals at Basel last year. Came through qualifying on his US Open debut last year and reached the second round. Also beat Andy Murray in quarter-finals in Dubai this year before losing to Roger Federer.

Andy Murray versus Nick Kyrgios

Murray leads series 3-0 - Australian Kyrgios, 20, is hard to keep out of the headlines but with Murray, the 2012 champion, holding a 3-0 head-to-head advantage, the world No. 37 may have a short stay in New York.

Kyrgios was handed a suspended ban and fine for his lurid verbal attack on Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Masters.

He triggered widespread revulsion for his on-court taunt that fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis had had a fling with WTA professional Donna Vekic, reportedly the girlfriend of Wawrinka.



Serena Williams versus Vitalia Diatchenko

First meeting - Diatchenko, the world No. 86 from Russia, has won just two matches on the tour this year, the last of which was in the French Open first round. Will be playing the US Open for the first time since 2011 when the 25-year-old was beaten in the opening round. In her bio, she says Williams is her favourite player.

Simona Halep versus Marina Erakovic

First meeting - The 27-year-old world No. 99 won a match at the US Open for the first time last year when she stunned former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the opening round. The New Zealander made the semi-finals in Pattaya this year but enjoys most success as a doubles player having won eight titles.

Maria Sharapova versus Daria Gavrilova

Series level 1-1 - Ranked 37 in the world, the 21-year-old Gavrilova is Russian-born but represents Australia at the majors. Gavrilova stunned Sharapova in their first meeting in Miami this year before the five-time Grand Slam title winner exacted revenge in Rome in the semi-finals after her compatriot had fought through qualifying. Gavrilova will be playing in the main draw at the US Open for the first time.