Nadal, Federer on semifinal collision course

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal may have to go through Grigor Dimitrov, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in succession in the second week in New York City if he hopes to lift his third US Open title on championship Sunday.
Training session: World No.1 Rafael Nadal (left). (Right) 2004 Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova
Training session: World No.1 Rafael Nadal (left). (Right) 2004 Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova
Top seed Nadal and No. 3 Federer were both drawn in the top half of the men’s singles draw on Friday, setting up a potentially thrilling semifinal match should each advance through their first five matches to play each other for the first time at Flushing Meadows.
With both 2016 finalists — Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic — out through injury, Andy Murray has the easier path to the final, with world No. 6 Alexander Zverev the top-ranked player in his half. 
Maria Sharapova’s first Grand Slam match in more than a year will come against No. 2-seeded Simona Halep. Sharapova’s first-round US Open matchup with two-time French Open runner-up Halep was set by Friday’s draw. The US Tennis Association awarded a wild-card invitation to Sharapova, who is ranked 147th after returning from a 15-month doping suspension in April. 
Her five major championships include the 2006 US Open. Sharapova was kicked off the tour after testing positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. The bottom half’s semifinal could be No. 2 Andy Murray vs. No. 4 Alexander Zverev. 
In the men’s draw, potential quarterfinal matchups would be Nadal vs. No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov, Murray vs. No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer vs. No. 6 Dominic Thiem and Zverev vs. 2014 US Open champion and No. 5 seed Marin Cilic. 
Potential women’s quarterfinal matchups in the draw’s bottom half include Halep or Sharapova against No. 7 Johanna Konta of Britain, a semifinalist at Wimbledon, and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza against No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki or No. 9 Venus Williams, a seven-time major champion and the runner-up at the All England Club last month at age 37. Williams’ sister, 23-time major champion Serena, is not playing in the US Open because she is pregnant and expecting to give birth in September. 
In the top half of the bracket, the quarterfinals could be No. 1 Karolina Pliskova against 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and defending champion Angelique Kerber or French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko against No. 4 Elina Svitolina or No. 15 Madison Keys of the United States.

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