Osaka and Serena set for French Open quarters clash

By Sports Desk May 23, 2019

World number one Naomi Osaka could meet Serena Williams in the French Open quarter-finals, while defending champion Simona Halep will start against Ajla Tomljanovic.

Osaka is chasing a third consecutive grand slam title at Roland Garros, having triumphed at the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January.

The Japanese will face Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round before the prospect of a tricky clash against either 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or two-time Melbourne winner Victoria Azarenka.

Osaka's task will only become tougher as she advances through the tournament, with a potential meeting with Williams, who boasts 23 major titles, in the last eight.

Williams, who withdrew from the Internazionali d'Italia last week after one match, plays Vitalia Diatchenko first.

Meanwhile, Halep will also be required to come through a blockbuster quarter-final if she is to win a second grand slam at the scene of her first triumph.

Sixth seed Petra Kvitova could await Halep in the fifth round.

A standout opening match sees Venus Williams play Elina Svitolina, with one of the pair possibly facing 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in the third round.

Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki are all in the bottom quarter of the draw.

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    Rafael Nadal does not believe he has an advantage heading into the US Open after he was drawn away from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

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    "I don't know. I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I only can meet them after the semi-finals," Nadal said.

    "I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not. So let's see if I am able to do my work.

    "That's not an advantage or disadvantage. That's part of the draw. That's part of the things that happen when you are No.1, No.2 and No.3.

    "For example, at Wimbledon it was the other way. They changed. Now here is the opposite. Let's see what's going on."

    Second seed Nadal opens his campaign against John Millman, who knocked Federer out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2018.

    Thanasi Kokkinakis, who also upset Federer last season, and Fernando Verdasco are potential second and third-round opponents. 

    Dominic Thiem – seeded fourth – could meet Nadal in the semi-final, in what would be a repeat of the French Open final, as well as an epic quarter-final from last season's US Open.

    "He is the No.4 now. Every year he's improving," Nadal said of the 25-year-old Austrian.

    "Already this year he won a Masters 1000 on hard. He played again the final in Roland Garros. Every day he is a very solid, and every year is more solid.

    "He has everything to win important events. He already is winning important events. He's a very, very hard worker. Just a question of time that he achieve all his goals."

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