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
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
"Andre would be happy with another shot against Nadal,"
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.