Venus, Serena land on same side of draw
NEW YORK -- Venus and Serena Williams landed in the same section of the U.S. Open draw Wednesday -- setting them up for a possible fourth-round match -- with the winner potentially facing favorite Kim Clijsters in the quarters.
Though their father has suggested conspiracies against the sisters in the past, their seeded numbers for the year's final Grand Slam event, which begins next Monday, were drawn out of the silver winner's cup in plain view of everyone at the ceremony in an auditorium at the United Nations.
No. 8 Serena, still trying to find her form after recovering from injuries and showing up out of shape at Wimbledon, starts against a qualifier. No. 10 Venus opens against Japan's Rika Fujiwara.
If the sisters keep going until the fourth round, the winner of their duel would go against the No. 4 Clijsters, who beat fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne to win the Rogers Cup on Sunday in Toronto and capture the U.S. Open Series that leads up to the year's final major. If Clijsters wins the Open, she would get double the $1.1 million first prize.
"This is incredible that this section turned out with Venus, Serena and Clijsters, who you could certainly make a case are three of the favorites," said Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain and CBS commentator. "Obviously, though, the sisters come in with a lot of question marks, based on their health."
No. 1 Maria Sharapova received a relatively easy draw to the quarterfinals, where she could meet defending champion and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. No. 5. Kuznetsova, though, is troubled by a sore back.
Men's No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland doesn't seem to have anyone who could beat him on a hard court through the quarters and is seeded to meet No. 5 Marat Safin in the semis.
"Any draw for him is a good one," McEnroe said of Federer. "For the men, it's Federer and everyone else."
No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion from Spain, could meet No. 7 Andre Agassi in the quarters. Nadal beat Agassi in Montreal recently for his ninth ATP title this year -- tying him with Federer.
"Andre would be happy with another shot against Nadal," McEnroe said.
No. 4 Andy Roddick, the winner of the men's U.S. Open Series who is also playing for double the top prize, appeared to have an easy draw through to the semis, where he could meet Nadal or Agassi.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press