Emma Raducanu handed tough Indian Wells draw in first tournament since US Open triumph
Teenager Raducanu, whose stunning triumph last month propelled her from 150th to 22nd in the world rankings, received a wild card entry and a bye to the second round of the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells.
She has been drawn to play the winner of the match between Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with a win for the Brit setting up an encounter against Halep in the third round if the Romanian defeats the victor of Zhang Shuai versus Marta Kostyuk.
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in the Open era to win a major tournament at Flushing Meadows in New York, where she did not lose a set.
She only made her WTA Tour debut in June this year at the Nottingham Open and went on to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in her second tour-level event.
Indian Wells will be just the fifth tour-level event of Raducanu's career.
Andy Murray will also take part in the men’s draw having earned a wildcard entry and will compete at the prestigious California-based tournament for the first time since 2017.
The former world number one is considered to be among the potential candidates to become Raducanu’s future coach.
Having taken three weeks off to digest her achievement, Raducanu is poised for a busy month.
After Indian Wells, she has entered the Kremlin Cup in Moscow beginning on October 18 and the Transylvania Open in her father's home country of Romania the following week.
The Linz tournament begins on November 6, but Raducanu would be forced into a rethink should she qualify for the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, with the two events overlapping.
The top eight players of the season qualify for the season-ending showpiece. Raducanu currently sits 15th but there are major doubts over whether Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka will play and there are plenty of points still up for grabs.
Raducanu will play her first match in Indian Wells on either Friday or Saturday, with seeds receiving first-round byes.
She is without a permanent coach having split from Andrew Richardson despite their remarkable New York success but has been seen on court in California with Jeremy Bates.
The former British number one works primarily with British number five Katie Boulter but is also the Lawn Tennis Association's national women's coach.
Raducanu said last month that she is looking for someone experienced on the WTA Tour and that she does not expect to make an appointment until the end of the season.
The prestigious event has returned to the WTA calendar after a two-year hiatus, while two-time champion and former world number one Kim Clijsters has also received a wild card to the main draw.
Current world number one Ashleigh Barty has chosen not to compete at Indian Wells and Naomi Osaka has also pulled out.
British number five Katie Boulter failed in her bid to reach the main draw as she was beaten 7-5 6-2 by 16-year-old American Reese Brantmeier in the first round of qualifying.
Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.