Williams is a four-time champion at the U.S. Open, including in 2012. Only Chris Evert, with six, and Steffi Graf, with five, have won the tournament more times in the Open era, which began in 1968.
The U.S. Tennis Association stuck to the WTA rankings Tuesday in announcing the 32 seeded women, including Victoria Azarenka at No. 2, and Maria Sharapova at No. 3. Williams is one of three seeded Americans; No. 16 Sloane Stephens and No. 24 Jamie Hampton are the others.
Venus Williams, who won the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001, is the only unseeded past champion.
WINSTON-SALEM OPEN: In Winston-Salem, N.C., Mardy Fish retired because of heat stroke during the third set of his second-round match Tuesday.
Jarkko Nieminen, the No. 11 seed, was leading Fish 7-5, 6-7 (3), 3-2 when Fish retired.
Fish said in a statement issued by the ATP he developed “heat stroke” and the “very hot and humid” weather made it difficult to continue the match.
“The weather just got to me a little bit and I just couldn’t go any more,” Fish said.
Martin Klizan, the 14th seed, was upset 6-4, 6-1 by Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round. Eighth-seeded Juan Monaco defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 in the final hard-court tune-up before the U.S. Open.
In other second-round matches, fifth-seeded Benoit Paire beat James Blake 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-3; seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco beat Tim Symczek 3-6, 6-3, 6-3; ninth-seeded Jurgen Melzer beat qualifier Thiemo de Bakker 7-5, 6-7 (4), 4-2; and 13th-seeded Dmitry Tursunov defeated David Goffin 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
NEW HAVEN OPEN: In New Haven, Conn., defending champion Petra Kvitova survived a scare in the first round, rallying to beat Annika Beck 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The tournament’s third seed dropped the first set 4-6 and was broken in the first game of the second before staging the comeback.
The 2011 Wimbledon champion wasn’t the only seeded player to struggle. Second-seeded Angelique Kerber lost her second-round match 6-2, 6-4 to Elena Vesnina.
Vesnina will face Klara Zakopalova in the quarterfinals. Zakopalova upset eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round before beating 19-year-old Monica Puig 6-4, 6-1 on Tuesday.
Former top-ranked singles player Martina Hingis and Daniela Hantuchova lost in a first-round doubles match 6-3, 6-1 to Cara Black and Vania King.