Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova will start her US Open campaign against Maria Kirilenko at Arthur Ashe Stadium.Reuters

The two-time defending champion Serena Williams will start as favourite to win the US Open after her impressive run in Stanford, Toronto and Cincinnati, but, the American will be challenged by Maria Sharapova and second seed Simona Halep, who will take court today.

Sharapova and Halep will star on the opening day at Flushing Meadows when they lock horns with Maria Kirilenko and Danielle Rose Collins respectively.

This is the first time second seed Halep is facing American Collins and the Romanian will be aiming to make a winning start at the US Open. Halep reached the final of the French Open and semis of the Wimbledon and will be looking to carry her impressive Grand Slam form into the US Open as well.

Halep's remarkable run in the majors propelled her in the WTA Rankings, but she did not enjoy much success on the hard courts. The world number two lost to Maria Sharapova in the Cincinnati Masters and faced a surprised exit from last week's New Haven Open.

The second-seed will be the clear favourite against Collins, and it is a good chance for the 22-year-old to find her rhythm against the unseeded American, before crucial matches in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Russian Sharapova will open her US Open campaign against countrywoman Kirilenko at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. This will be the eighth meeting between the two, and Sharapova leads Kirilenko in head-to-head encounters.

The 2006 US Open winner has defeated her Russian counterpart five times, including their last meeting in Indian Wells last year. On the other hand, Kirilenko defeated Sharapova four years ago in the Australian Open.

Sharapova has endured a mixed outing in the hard court season, as she was shocked by Carla Suarez Navarro in the Toronto Masters, but managed to reach the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters, beating the likes of Halep and Madison Keys.

The former world number one used last week to prepare herself and get back in to shape to challenge for the title.

"That week before is just working on a few things, getting out on the practice court, making sure that you do the right thing both physically and mentally," Sharapova said. "You have a few appearances usually in New York leading into the Open, so managing the time and being fresh for the beginning. That's the most important thing."

In other first round matches, two-time singles champion Venus Williams will face Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, while fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be up against Sharon Fichman.

Schedule of Play

Danielle Rose Collins vs Simona Halep starts 8:30 pm IST

Sharon Fichman vs Agnieszka Radwanska 8:30 pm IST

Kimiko Date-Krumm vs Venus Williams starts 10:30 pm IST

Maria Sharapova vs Maria Kirilenko 4:30 am IST

Where to Watch Live

The day's action is scheduled for 8:30 pm IST (3:00 pm GMT, 4:00 pm BST and 11:00 am ET) start with live coverage on Ten Sports in India and live streaming option HERE. International viewers can catch the action HERE and HERE or listen to the action free HERE. The live updates of all matches are available online HERE, HERE or HERE.

Eurosport will broadcast matches live in the UK and Europe. Viewers can also live stream the action HERE or listen to the action live online on BBC HERE. Catch the action live on ESPN Network and CBS Sports Network in the United States or see live streaming HERE or HERE. SuperSport will telecast the action in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa and viewers can catch the matches live HERE.

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