Flushing Meadows, NY – World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and former top-ranked star Serena Williams could do battle in the U.S. Open final, as the draw for the 2012 Big Apple fortnight was revealed on Thursday.
Azarenka will open up against Russian Alexandra Panova, while the three-time U.S. Open champion Williams will meet fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the round of 128.
The Belarusian Azarenka could face reigning U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur or three-time winner Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals in the top half of the draw, while a potential semifinal opponent for the Australian Open champ Azarenka could be French Open winner, Olympic silver medalist and Aussie Open runner-up Maria Sharapova.
Stosur, who captured her lone Grand Slam title last year by stunning Williams in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, will open her 2012 New York stay against Croat Petra Martic.
In the bottom half, the reigning Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist Williams appears to have a clear path to the quarterfinals, where she could be opposed by eighth-seeded former No. 1 and 2009 U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, who will open against Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu next week.
In the top half, a third-seeded Sharapova will start against Hungarian Melinda Czink and could face fifth-seeded former Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the quarters. Kvitova beat the career Grand Slam winner Sharapova in last year's Wimbledon finale.
The left-handed Kvitova will open up against Slovenian Polona Hercog.
The bottom half of the draw also features second-seeded Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, sixth-seeded rising German Angelique Kerber and two-time U.S. Open champ and former No. 1 Venus Williams.
Radwanska will open against Russian Nina Bratchikova and could face the left- handed Kerber or Venus in the quarters. Kerber will open against Britain's Anne Keothavong, while Venus' first-round opponent will be fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Radwanska, Kerber or Venus could meet the career Golden Slam winner Serena in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Clijsters will appear in her final U.S. Open, as the former world No. 1 will retire from the WTA following this event.
The 29-year-old Clijsters has titled in her last three trips to New York and hasn't lost a U.S. Open match since falling to Justine Henin in an all-Belgian final back in 2003. The wife and mother is riding a 21-match winning streak in Flushing, where she's missed five of the last eight U.S. Opens because of injuries and/or previous retirement.
Clijsters' opening-round opponent will be little-known American Victoria Duval.
The 2012 U.S. Open will commence Monday on the hardcourts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.