When Britain’s Emma Raducanu returns to New York to defend her US Open championship, she will face France’s Alize Cornet.
Raducanu, seeded 11th, astonished the world by winning the major as an unknown 18-year-old qualifier last year.
Cornet, rated 37th in the world, is a seasoned and accomplished player who has achieved remarkable success at the majors.
Serena Williams will face Danka Kovinic in the first round of what is expected to be her farewell event.
If she overcomes the Montenegrin, the American great, who turns 41 next month, might face second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round.
However, Novak Djokovic, the 21-time major winner, is not in the men’s singles draw after withdrawing from the competition earlier on Thursday.
Djokovic, 35, is unprotected against Covid-19, and the US would not admit guests who have not had the vaccine.
The main draw of the US Open begins on Monday in Flushing Meadows in New York.
So Emma Raducanu’s return to New York will be everything but easy: her first round draw is about as difficult as it gets.
Alize Cornet, who nearly lost out on a seeding, ended Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning run at Wimbledon and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open at the start of what may be her final season as a professional.
Serena Williams, on the other hand, may have gotten a much tougher draw because Danka Kovinic has not won a match since the French Open.
Benoit Paire, Cameron Norrie’s dynamic first-round opponent, routinely makes headlines, yet he has just four tour-level wins this year.
Given how well they have been playing in recent weeks, both Norrie and Dan Evans have cause to be optimistic, and if he can address his recent cramping issues, Andy Murray should be extremely competitive against Francisco Cerundolo, the Argentine who reached the final four of the Miami Masters.