Challenging early foes for Djokovic, Williams

Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:16pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams face challenging early tests at the U.S. Open following Friday's draws for the year's last grand slam starting on Monday.

Djokovic, who has been bothered by a wrist injury, faces towering Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in his opening match at Flushing Meadows, and is likely to meet 48th-ranked Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in the second round.

Vesely beat the Serbian world number one earlier this season on clay in Monte Carlo.

"I'm doing everything in my power ... to make sure that I'm as close to 100 percent as possible," Djokovic told reporters, saying he hurt his wrist in Rio a few days before the start of the Olympic tournament, where he lost in the first round.

Williams, recovering from a shoulder injury that contributed to her third-round exit in Rio, drew Russian lefthander Ekaterina Makarova as her first opponent.

The 34-year-old American, 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 that also includes fifth seed Simona Halep of Romania and 16th-seeded Australian Sam Stosur, who beat the American in the 2011 U.S. Open final.

Djokovic is seeded to face either Frenchman Richard Gasquet or big-serving American John Isner in the fourth round, with France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who ended Andy Murray's win streak in the Cincinnati final, as possible quarter-final opponents.   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 2/7/16 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates during his match against USA's Sam Querrey REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth