NEW YORK — The Williams sisters would meet in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, a bit earlier than their matchup in the final of the last Grand Slam, Wimbledon.

Venus and Serena Williams, coming off a doubles gold medal together at the Olympics, found themselves in the same part of the bracket when the Open held its draw Thursday.

On the men's side, struggling four-time defending champ Roger Federer might have to get through No. 3 Novak Djokovic to reach the final. Djokovic, the Australian Open champ, owns something Federer lacks this year: a Grand Slam title.

New No. 1 Rafael Nadal avoided a potential semifinal matchup with Djokovic, but several hot players are in his half of the draw. No. 17 seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina has won four straight tournaments. American James Blake, the No. 9 seed, is coming off a breakthrough victory over Federer at the Olympics.

Top seed Ana Ivanovic could face No. 6 Dinara Safina in the women's quarters. Safina has been playing well lately and won an Olympic silver medal.

Serena Williams is seeded No. 4, and Venus, who beat her sister at Wimbledon, is the No. 7 seed. Each is a two-time U.S. Open champ.

"I'm sure it's disappointing in the Williams household to see this draw," said four-time Grand Slam singles champion Jim Courier, now an analyst for USA.

— Combined staff and wire services