NEW YORK – The Arthur Ashe court will be the epicentre of tennis on Monday night when ageing stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova meet in one of arguably the most thrilling first-round matches the US Open has ever seen.
The duel between the two career grand slam winners is electrifying everyone even though the American Williams appears to be the big favourite on paper as she leads Russia's Sharapova 19-2 in their head-to-head statistics.
"This is more than a tennis match. It is an event," Britain's Guardian newspaper said.
French Open champion Ash Barty of Australia said she couldn't believe her eyes: "When I saw the draw, I kind of refreshed my feed and saw that first round pop up."
Williams, 37, and the 32-year-old Sharapova are the biggest names and brands in the women's game, both transcending the sport as icons.