WATCH: Serena Williams faces tough US Open draw in bid to win 24th grand slam title

Seeded 17th, she could face sister Venus in third round before possible fourth-round showdown with top seed Simona Halep

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Serena Williams, who is aiming for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at this year's US Open, was handed a difficult path to the final after being drawn on Thursday in the same quarter as older sister Venus and world No 1 Simona Halep.

Serena, a six-time champion in New York who is seeded 17th, will start her campaign against Polish world No 60 Magda Linette and could face Venus in the third round before a possible fourth-round showdown with Romanian top seed Halep.

In her last bid to match Australian Margaret Court's record haul of grand slam titles, Williams, 36, who missed last year's US Open due to her pregnancy, came up one win shy as she fell to German Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final.


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In the men's draw Rafael Nadal, who last year won his third crown at Flushing Meadows, starts his defence against fellow Spaniard and long-time Davis Cup team mate David Ferrer, while second seed Roger Federer meets Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka.

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who could face Federer in the last eight, starts against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.

Defending women's champion Sloane Stephens will play Russia's Evgeniya Rodina in the opening round and could face former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the third, Belgian 15th seed Elise Mertens in the fourth and seventh-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals.

The US Open begins on Monday.