Murray is in line to face Nadal once again after US Open draw

Andy Murray will play India’s Somdev Devvarman in the opening round of the US Open after once again being placed in Rafael Nadal’s half of the draw.

It is the fourth grand slam in succession that the pair have been seeded to meet in the semi-finals, with Nadal beating Murray in the French Open and Wimbledon.

They did not meet in the Australian Open after an injured Nadal lost to David Ferrer, with Murray subsequently seeing off the Spaniard to reach a third grand slam final before losing to Novak Djokovic.

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Murray has never previously played 26-year-old Devvarman, who is currently ranked only two places below his career-high mark at 64th in the world.

The Indian’s record this year is solid, with a run through qualifying to the third round in Indian Wells in March the highlight, while last year he won the gold medal in the men’s singles tournament at the Commonwealth Games. However, Devvarman should pose few problems for fourth seed Murray, who is then likely to meet big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round.

Top seed Djokovic faces a qualifier in the opening round while Nadal meets Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev and third seed Roger Federer, who looks to have the trickiest section, takes on Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

Three British women gained automatic entry into the main draw for the first time in 19 years, and there is no doubt which of the trio has the toughest task in the first round.

Heather Watson, junior champion at Flushing Meadows in 2009, found herself drawn against third seed and Wimbledon finalist Maria Sharapova, who is hotly tipped to land the title after winning the warm-up tournament in Cincinnati.

Watson, 19, will hope to follow in the footsteps of her fellow young gun Laura Robson, who pushed Sharapova all the way in the second round of Wimbledon this year.

British No 1 Elena Baltacha will fancy her chances of making the second round for the fifth grand slam in a row after drawing US wild card Jamie Hampton, who she beat in three sets in the opening round of the Australian Open last year.

Victory over Hampton would set up a probable second-round clash with former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for Baltacha, while Anne Keothavong, who reached the third round in 2008, meets South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers in round one.

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All eyes were on where Serena Williams, seeded only 28th after her injury problems, would be drawn, and fourth seed Victoria Azarenka was the unlucky player, with the pair scheduled to meet in the third round.

Williams has not lost since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon, winning back-to-back titles in Stanford and Toronto before pulling out of Cincinnati as a precaution with a sore toe.

Sister Venus, who is unseeded, meets Russia’s Vesna Dolonts in round one and could play Wimbledon semi-finalist Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki faces Spain’s Nuria Llagostera Vives first up and is in the same quarter as French Open champion Li Na of China, while second seed Vera Zvonareva faces a qualifier.

Swede Johanna Larsson is Azarenka’s opening opponent, with Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded fifth here, taking on Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania in Sharapova’s section.