TENNIS: Serena Williams plays Danka Kovinic, Emma Raducanu faces Alize Cornet in US Open draw

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Britain’s Emma Raducanu has been handed a tough start against France’s Alize Cornet when she returns to New York to defend her US Open title.

Raducanu, seeded 11th, stunned the world last year by winning the major as a little known 18-year-old qualifier.

Cornet, ranked 37th in the world, is an experienced and talented player with some notable results at the majors.

Serena Williams will play Danka Kovinic as she begins what is set to be the final tournament of her career.

The American great, who turns 41 next month, could face second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round if she beats the Montenegrin.

However, 21-time major champion Novak Djokovic is not in the men’s singles draw after pulling out of the tournament earlier on Thursday.

Djokovic, 35, is unvaccinated against Covid-19 and the United States will not allow visitors who have not had the jab into the country.

The US Open main draw starts on Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.

— Ferdinand A. Baah