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It’s the matchup in women’s tennis that everyone circles on their calendar.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are scheduled to meet for the 22nd time when they face off in the first round of the US Open. It will be the first time they’ve met at Flushing Meadows, as the tournament begins on Monday.
The Williams/Sharapova “rivalry” has been one of the weakest narratives in sports, as Williams owns a 19-2 record against Sharapova in their WTA Tour matchups. The two were scheduled to meet in the Round of 16 of the 2018 French Open, but a pectoral muscle injury forced Williams out of the match.
“I love playing Maria. It’s a match I always get up for. Her game matches up so well against mine,” Williams said last year.
Next week also means that it’s Williams return to the tournament since she lost in last year’s final to Naomi Osaka (6-2, 6-4), which ended in drama. Osaka will open this year’s tournament against Anna Blinkova, while Wimbledon sensation Coco Gauff will face Anastasia Potapova, as the 37-year-old Williams looks to capture her 24th Grand Slam.