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Simona Halep draws wildcard Maria Sharapova at US Open

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Sharapova makes her return to grand-slams next week after more than 18 months away from top-flight tennis

They have played 37 head-to-head matches, including 12 at major tournaments - at least twice in a final - but never at the Flushing Meadows in any round.

A back problem restricted Federer in the final but he has recovered sufficiently to face American teenager Frances Tiafoe in the first round at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday. She, however, has defeated Halep on all six occasions that they have played, including the French Open final in 2014.

Nadal cited different ball contracts for the US Open and its main tuneup events as a problem that could be resolved. The Russian made a decision to withdraw from all her previous tournaments prior the last Grand Slam of the year in order to be fully fit to compete.

The other semifinal could be No. 2 Andy Murray vs.

Even Roger Federer finds it all a little surprising.

But the third seed has been practising freely in NY and said: "I'm really happy how I'm feeling". Sharapova missed last year's U.S. Open because of a doping suspension and sat out the tournament in 2013 and 2015 because of injuries.

"It's an exciting match", defending champion Angelique Kerber said.

The Spaniard, though, thinks policing it with a shot clock would make the titanic matches he has played at the slams against Novak Djokovic in particular, impossible.

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Four-time US Open champion John McEnroe told ESPN this week that, "at the moment, we're just assuming that Roger is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat again".

The 30-year-old Russian was given a wild card for the US Open, a move critics complained about earlier in the season, suggesting that to award the former champion a place defeated the point of the two-year drug ban, which was reduced on appeal and elapsed earlier this year. "It just sounds totally surreal to me", Federer said.

Maria Sharapova's first Grand Slam match in more than a year will come against second seed Simona Halep at the US Open. She really played so great at Wimbledon, such attractive tennis, and I thought maybe she would carry that over to the hard-court season. Thanks to her ranking Sharapova was expected to be back and compete at the qualifying of Wimbledon, but the injury she sustained in Rome kept her from playing any grass tournament.

She's 18 now, a Cinderella story at two Opens, including in 2014 at age 15 when she became the youngest American to win a match here.

Sharapova faces a hard test Monday in the night feature match at Arthur Ashe Stadium against world number two Simona Halep of Romania. Venus is on the bottom half of the bracket in a section that also features Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and former U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki. Remarkably, the elder Williams won her two titles in NY in 2000 and 2001, and was last No1 more than 15 years ago, yet she is the only woman this year to have reached two Major finals. But Kerber's 2017 has been rough, including a first-round loss at the French Open, and she is seeded No. 6 at the U.S. Open.

Well, no fewer than eight women can walk away from Queens as World No. 1. Nadal ranks second among men with 15.

Federer has a 35-3 record this year, having taken his Grand Slam tally to 19 titles with wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

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