Baltacha, Keothavong & Watson in main US Open draw

Elena Baltacha
Baltacha is the top-ranked Briton at 60 in the world

Great Britain's top three women's tennis players have been given direct entry into this year's US Open.

Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson are all in the main draw, Britain's best total since 1992.

Serena Williams, the 13-time Grand Slam champion who has dropped to 172 in the world, has used an injury-protected ranking to gain entry.

Reigning US Open champion Kim Clijsters, who missed Wimbledon with injury, will defend her title.

Baltacha, the world number 60, reached the second round of the event last year and she Tweeted:external-link "Always good to earn your spot."

Williams, who won Wimbledon in 2010, spent nearly a year on the sidelines with a foot injury and had emergency treatment for a pulmonary embolism in late February.

She returned to action in Eastbourne and was defeated in the fourth round at Wimbledon by Marion Bartoli of France.

Williams can use her injury-protected number one ranking to enter eight tournaments, including one Grand Slam, since she was sidelined over six months with health issues.

Clijsters, who will be aiming to secure her third straight US Open title, has had a disrupted season since she defeated Li Na to win the Australian Open in January.

The world number two was on a break with shoulder and wrist problems when she severely strained medial and lateral ligaments in her right ankle at a wedding in April.

She returned to play in the French Open but was knocked out in the second round by Arantxa Rus.

The US Open begins in Flushing Meadows, New York on 29 August and will feature 97 of the world's top 100 female players.