Serena Williams to start final U.S. Open vs. Danka Kovinic

Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Serena Williams, entering what is expected to be the final tournament of her storied playing career, drew Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The first-round pairings were released Thursday ahead of the first day of main-draw action Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Kovinic, 27, has never faced Williams head-to-head. She is ranked No. 80 in the world and has not advanced past the second round of the U.S. Open before.

Should Williams take care of her first-round opponent, the 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam winner could face No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. Kontaveit’s first-round opponent is Jaqueline Cristian of Romania.

Serena’s sister Venus Williams, who received a wild-card entry, will face Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in the first round. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 25 seed, could be waiting in the second round; Rybakina will open against a qualifier.

No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland will battle Jasmine Paolini of Italy in the first round, and if she wins, will draw the winner between Greet Minnen of Belgium and Sloane Stephens of the U.S.

Another marquee matchup in the first round pits four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka of Japan against American 19th seed Danielle Collins.

No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece will face Germany’s Tatjana Maria, No. 4 seed Paula Badosa of Spain will open against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine and No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia will battle Madison Brengle of the U.S.

The two highest-seeded American women, eighth seed Jessica Pegula and 12th seed Coco Gauff, will each draw to-be-determined qualifiers in the first round.

–Field Level Media

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