NEW YORK, NY, USA -- Defending champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka and top seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic head up the two halves of the 2020 US Open women's doubles draw, which was released on Friday.
Mertens and Sabalenka claimed their first Grand Slam doubles title last season at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with a victory in the final over Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty. It was the culmination of a stellar 2019 for the team on American hardcourts, after they pulled off the "Sunshine Double" by winning the doubles titles in both Indian Wells and Miami in the spring.
Belgium's Mertens and Sabalenka of Belarus are seeded No.2 this year, and are situated at the very bottom of this year's draw, where they will face Arina Rodionova of Australia and Sabrina Santamaria of the United States in the opening round.
At the very top of the draw are this year's No.1 seeds, Babos and Mladenovic. The Hungarian-French pairing, who were US Open finalists in 2018, are looking to claim their second major title of this season after opening the year by defeating Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova for the Australian Open crown.
Babos and Mladenovic have won three Grand Slam women's doubles titles as a tandem (Mladenovic also has won a fourth paired with Caroline Garcia) but the top seeds are seeking their first US Open championship. Placed at the very top of the draw, they will open their campaign against Kaitlyn Christian of the United States and Mexico's Giuliana Olmos.
No.3 seeds Nicole Melichar of the United States and Xu Yifan of China have been placed in the top half with Babos and Mladenovic. Melichar and Xu are currently having an excellent week at the Western & Southern Open, where they have reached the final.
Melichar and Xu battle Belgians Kirsten Flipkens and Alison van Uytvanck in the opening round. The winners of that match could face "Team McCoco" in the second round: Coco Gauff and Caty McNally.
American teens Gauff and McNally had a breakthrough season in 2019, where they won their first two WTA doubles titles, in Washington D.C. and Luxembourg. They will face another pair of Americans, Hailey Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe, in the first round.
This week's other Western & Southern Open finalists, Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs, are the No.4 seeds at the US Open, and have been drawn into the bottom half with Mertens and Sabalenka.
Peschke of the Czech Republic and Dutchwoman Schuurs will meet Sharon Fichman of Canada and Darija Jurak of Croatia in the US Open first round.
Last year's runner-up Azarenka will be back in this year's US Open doubles draw, but this time she will team up with American Sofia Kenin of the United States as the No.7 seeds. If the seedings hold, Azarenka and Kenin would meet Mertens and Sabalenka in the quarterfinals.
Azarenka and Kenin will face the all-Aussie pairing of Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders in the first round.