- The Washington Times - Friday, August 28, 2009

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could reprise the best rivalry in tennis by meeting in the U.S. Open final.

Federer will be the top seed when the year’s final Grand Slam event starts Monday, and Nadal is seeded third on the opposite side of the draw.

Russia’s Dinara Safina landed the top spot in the women’s draw and is seeking her first Grand Slam title. She faces a potential showdown in the final against No. 2 seed Serena Williams, the defending champion.

Andy Roddick, who lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final in July, is seeded fifth and is in line to face Federer in the semifinals. But possible roadblocks include fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic, Germany’s Tommy Haas and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. Roddick is scheduled to open against Bjorn Phau of Germany.

Federer is scheduled to play American wild-card entry Devin Britton in the first round. Andy Murray, the second seed, is scheduled to play hard-hitting Latvian Ernests Gulbis; Nadal opens against Richard Gasquet of France.

For Nadal, a U.S. Open victory would make him just the seventh man to win all four major titles in his career. But he has never reached the U.S. Open final, and it is unclear whether he is playing at his peak after taking more than two months off to recover from knee problems.

Federer’s draw includes a possible third-round match against former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and a fourth-round match against James Blake. Federer is also in the same quarter of the draw as Sweden’s Robin Soderling, whom he defeated in the French Open final in May, and American Sam Querrey, who won the U.S. Open Series with a strong showing in the hard-court season.

There is no chance of an all-Williams final: Serena Williams and her sister Venus are on the same side of the draw. The two could meet in the semifinals.

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