French Open: Nadal, Dkojovic and Federer in same half of Roland Garros draw

By Sports Desk May 27, 2021

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet at the semi-final stage of the French Open, while Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty are in the same half of the draw.

Nadal will start his quest to win the Paris grand slam a staggering 14th time with a first-round encounter against Australian Alexei Popyrin next week.

Defending champion Nadal, the third seed, is in the same half of the draw as fellow all-time greats Djokovic and Federer, who could face the Serbian world number one in the last eight.

Top seed Djokovic, who is two major titles shy of the record of 20 held by Federer and Nadal, will take on Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

Swiss great Federer will come up against a qualifier in round one at Roland Garros, while two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem is up against Pablo Andujar.

Pole Swiatek claimed her maiden grand slam title at the French Open last year and takes on her close friend Kaja Juvan in the first round.

World number one Barty, who did not travel to Paris to defend her title in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, has will make her return at the clay-court major against Bernarda Pera.

Serena Williams comes up against Irina-Camelia Begu, while last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin must do battle with the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in a standout first-round match.

Carla Suarez Navarro can expect plenty of support when she takes on Sloane Stephens in her first tournament since successfully completing cancer treatment.

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    Barty won five titles in 2021, including a victory at Wimbledon that marked the second grand slam title of her career.

    She reached the semi-finals of her home major in 2019 and her determination to go one better in 2022 has led Barty to call an early end to her 2021 campaign.

    "I wanted to let everyone know that I won't be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico," said Barty.

    "It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritise my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest preseason for the Australian summer.

    "With the ongoing challenges of travelling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January.

    "I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for a successful WTA Finals and rest of the year.

    "My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open.

    "I can't wait to play at home again."

  • Rising star Brooksby set for Schwartzman test in Antwerp semi-finals Rising star Brooksby set for Schwartzman test in Antwerp semi-finals

    Jenson Brooksby enhanced his growing reputation and set up showdown with Diego Schwartzman in the European Open semi-finals.

    The 20-year-old American, who took a set off Novak Djokovic and rattled the world number one at the US Open, is shaping up as potentially his country's biggest hope for the future in the men's game.

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    Schwartzman is the man who ended Andy Murray's hopes at the tournament in Antwerp.

    Brooksby, who had to win two qualifying matches to reach the main draw, said: "Tomorrow will be a great match. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll get some rest tonight and get ready to battle again tomorrow."

    The other semi-final will see Italian top seed Jannik Sinner take on South African seventh seed Lloyd Harris following their respective straight-sets wins over Arthur Rinderknech and Marton Fucsovics.


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    Marin Cilic thrashed Pedro Martinez 6-1 6-2 to set up a tussle with Ricardas Berankis, the Lithuanian ending Adrian Mannarino's run with a 6-2 7-6 (7-1) success. Frenchman Mannarino had stunned Russian top seed Andrey Rublev in the previous round.

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    Alexandrova's shock win over Sabalenka gave her a sixth career victory over a top-10 player. Second seed Garbine Muguruza followed Sabalenka out of the tournament, walloped 6-1 6-1 by in-form Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who has won 19 of her last 21 matches on tour, including beating Sakkari in the Ostrava final last month.

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