'Not an easy draw': Tennis fans divided over Ash Barty's US Open path

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Pictured here, Ash Barty pumps a fist at the Cincinnati Masters.
Ash Barty's US Open draw has thrown up a tricky path through to the final. Pic: AAP

Ash Barty has been handed her draw for the US Open, with a number of potential banana skins confronting the World No.1.

Barty has been given a predictably challenging draw as she seeks to lift the US Open as the top seed - and she'll have to be wary from the get-go as her first-round opponent is the former finalist Vera Zvonareva.

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The Aussie - who will start favourite to lift her third grand slam title at Flushing Meadows when the event kicks off on Monday - has never played the 36-year-old Russian, who reached the final both in New York and Wimbledon in 2010.

Zvonareva has these days slipped to 101 in the world but as a former world No.2 still clearly demands the utmost respect from the Wimbledon champ.

The draw could see Barty, in supreme form after annexing her fifth title of the year last weekend in Cincinnati, face a second round tie against rising French star Clara Burel.

The last-32 would then potentially pit her against Russian Veronika Kudermetova, the No.29 seed who Barty's already beaten comfortably this year on the Roman clay.

In the last-16, her US friend and doubles partner Jen Brady, the Australian Open finalist, could await as Barty seeks to make the quarter-finals in New York for the first time.

Then the last-eight may throw up a real blockbuster with last year's French Open champion Iga Swiatek, while Barty could have to fight past 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu in the semis.

The real highlight of the draw for many in the tennis world is the prospect of Barty meeting Naomi Osaka in the final, however, the Japanese star would have to get past Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals first.

Seen here, Ash Barty with the Wimbledon trophy and Naomi Osaka holding the US Open silverware aloft.
Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could meet in the US Open final after being named on opposite sides of the draw. Pic: AAP

Barty's trophy-laden year has seen her silence many of the critics who claimed that Osaka was the true World No.1, but there were still many who argued that the Aussie was given a favourable draw at Flushing Meadows.

Others insist the Aussie's path through to the final is littered with potential minefields in a debate that has been raging on social media.

Tennis world reacts to US Open draw

In the men's draw, top seed Novak Djokovic, seeking the first men's calendar year grand slam since the great Rod Laver in 1969, will start off against a qualifier but could, if all goes well, face an Aussie challenge down the road.

Australian No.1 Alex De Minaur, the 14th seed, meets American Taylor Fritz in a tough opener while Jordan Thompson has a first round date with Italian Gianluca Mager.

If the two Sydney friends manage to make the third round, they'll face each other with Djokovic doubtless awaiting in the fourth round.

Djokovic's path could also include 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori in the third round, a Wimbledon final rematch with Matteo Berrettini in the quarters, another meeting with Zverev in the semis and a final with Daniil Medvedev.

Nick Kyrgios will face an uphill task in his opening round tie against Spain's No.18 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, but the match of the first round looks like former champ Andy Murray up against the No.3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Among other high-profile contests for Australian challengers will be wildcard Max Purcell's first US Open main draw contest against No.13 seed, Jannik Sinner, one of the brightest talents on the ATP Tour.

The 2010 women's singles champ Sam Stosur has not had much luck, drawing the Estonian No.28 seed Anett Kontaveit first up.

with AAP

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