May 28, 2020, 1:36


US Open: Maria Sharapova opens against Simona Halep with Johanna Konta in same half

US Open: Maria Sharapova opens against Simona Halep with Johanna Konta in same half

Maria Sharapova makes her Grand Slam return following a 15-month doping ban with a crunch first-round clash against world No 2 Simona Halep at the US Open.

The former world No 1, who tested positive for the drug meldonium in 2016, returned to action in April and was awarded a main-draw wildcard for the tournament she won in 2006 after French officials denied her that same courtesy for the French Open earlier this year.

Her preparations were disrupted by an arm injury suffered during a first-round win at the Stanford Classic earlier this month. She then withdrew from events in Toronto and Cincinnati as a precautionary measure before the final major of the year.

But Sharapova, who is ranked only 147th, will head into the contest with a 6-0 career record against Halep.

British seventh seed Konta will face Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic in the first round.

Konta has reached the fourth round for the last two years while British No 2 Heather Watson, who has suffered six consecutive first-round losses here, will attempt to end that streak against France’s Alize Cornet.

If Konta were to progress she faces a potential women’s quarter-final match-up between Halep or Sharapova while Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza could face either world No 5 Caroline Wozniacki or 37-year-old Venus Williams, a seven-time major champion and the runner-up at the All England Club last month.

World No 1 Karolina Pliskova is in the top half of the draw alongside 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, defending champion Angelique Kerber, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina and home hope Madison Keys.

Sky Sports Tennis will have all the action from the US Open covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with our live blogs and updates throughout the fortnight as the Grand Slam year reaches its climax.

On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation. Who will win the US Open titles this year? Have your say…

We will also have coverage of the World Tour Finals in November with every match live on Sky Sports.

Sourse: skysports.com

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