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Sharapova to face Halep in US Open first round

The standout tie in round one of the US Open sees Maria Sharapova return to grand slam action against Simona Halep.

mariasharapova - Cropped
Maria Sharapova in action

Maria Sharapova has been handed a daunting assignment on her return to grand slam action in the form of a match against second seed Simona Halep in round one of the US Open.

Sharapova made her return from a 15-month ban for violating anti-doping rules in April, but was denied a wildcard for the French Open and then pulled out of Wimbledon qualifying through injury.

The champion at Flushing Meadows in 2006, Sharapova will now make her return to the big stage in a blockbuster first-round encounter.

Halep is one of eight women who could end this year's US Open as the world number one.

However, the Romanian has lost all six of her career meetings with Sharapova, whose pedigree surely makes her the one unseeded player the top-ranked competitors will have been hoping to avoid.

Defending champion Angelique Kerber will face Naomi Osaka of Japan first up, while top seed Karolina Pliskova has been drawn against Poland's Magda Linette.

In addition to Pliskova and Halep, the other players who could claim the number-one ranking in New York are Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams.

Svitolina and Kuznetsova are in the same half of the draw as Pliskova and Kerber, while Wozniacki and Muguruza could face each other in the last eight, as could Konta and Halep.

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