Dudi Sela will be optimistic of claiming his first Grand Slam win in two years next week after being drawn on Thursday to face Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the first round of the US Open.

The 28-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 77 in the world, failed to receive direct entry to the main draw of the past two majors due to his lowly ranking. However, he climbed back into the world’s top 80 last month for the first time since last May thanks to his success on the Challenger circuit.

Should Sela claim his first win in a Grand Slam main draw since the 2011 US Open, he will likely next face world No. 21 Janko Tipsarevic.

Amir Weintraub and Julia Glushko are hoping to join Sela in the main draw, with both playing in the second round of the qualifiers in New York late Thursday night.

Weintraub (188) faced Oleksandr Nedovyesov (156) while Glushko (128) played Stephanie Dubois (155).

For the first time in more than eight years, Shahar Pe’er failed to reach the main draw of two consecutive Grand Slam tournaments after suffering a shock exit in the first round of the US Open qualifiers on Tuesday.

Pe’er, who was seeded No. 1 in the qualifiers as the world No. 80, entered the tournament on the back of her first WTA Tour title in four years, but dropped to a dejecting 6-4, 7-6 (3) to Ksenia Pervak (156) in the opening round.

Meanwhile, third-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova has pulled out of next week’s US Open due to a shoulder injury, tournament organizers said on Wednesday.

The four-time grand slam winner, who triumphed at Flushing Meadows in 2006, fired coach Jimmy Connors last week after just one match together.

The 26-year-old world No. 3, who is suffering from inflammation in her right shoulder, said withdrawing from the year’s final grand slam was “a really tough decision to make”.

“I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready but it just wasn’t enough time,” she said in statement on her Facebook page.

“I have done many tests, received several opinions and it all comes down to taking the proper amount of time to heal my shoulder injury properly.

“It’s certainly not an easy decision to make ahead of one of my favorite tournaments, but I know it’s the right one that will get me back on the courts soon.

“I plan on taking the next few weeks off, receiving proper treatment and rehabilitation.”

Sharapova lost to 20-year-old American Sloane Stephens in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati last week in her only match since a secondround exit at Wimbledon.

Her absence from Flushing Meadows at least puts to rest widely reported plans she had to legally change her name for the US Open in a publicity stunt for her candy business.

Defending champion Serena Williams is the top seed for the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York, ahead of Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, who now moves up to third.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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