French Open: Emma Raducanu faces qualifier in first round; Novak Djokovic gets tricky draw

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu will be making her French Open debut this year
Dates: 22 May-5 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
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Britain’s Emma Raducanu will make her French Open debut against a qualifier.

The 19-year-old US Open champion is seeded 12th at Roland Garros but has struggled with injury in the build-up to the clay-court Grand Slam.

British men’s number one and 10th seed Cameron Norrie opens against French wildcard Manuel Guinard.

Men’s number one Novak Djokovic is set for a difficult title defence after landing in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.

Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, who has won her past five tournaments in a row and is favourite for a second French Open triumph, opens her campaign against a qualifier.

There are five Britons in the main draw, including Dan Evans, who will face Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo as he bids for a first win at Roland Garros.

Harriet Dart makes her French Open main-draw debut against Italian former quarter-finalist Martina Trevisan, while Heather Watson faces Elsa Jacquemot of France.

The French Open begins on Sunday.

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Nadal, Djokovic & Alcaraz drawn in same half

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic fought back from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s French Open final

Djokovic has a difficult path ahead of him in his first Grand Slam competition of the year.

The Serb gets his title defence under way against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan and could potentially face long-time rival Nadal in the quarter-finals.

Australian Open champion Nadal, who is bidding for a record-extending 14th French Open crown, starts against Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

Potentially awaiting in the semi-finals could be Alcaraz, who beat both Djokovic and Nadal on his way to the Madrid Open title last month and is counted among the favourites for the title.

The 19-year-old Spaniard will begin his tournament against a qualifier.

In the bottom half, world number two Daniil Medvedev starts against Facundo Bagnis of Argentina.

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Swiatek starts with qualifier

In the women’s draw, world number one Swiatek will discover her first-round opponent once the qualifying event is concluded on Friday.

She is on a 28-match unbeaten streak and could potentially face a fellow former champion in either Simona Halep or Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round.

Defending champion and second seed Barbora Krejcikova will start against France’s Diane Parry.

The Czech won the women’s singles and doubles last year but has been hampered by an elbow injury since March.

Naomi Osaka will open against Amanda Anisimova – the young American who ended her Australian Open title defence in January.

Japan’s Osaka is in the same quarter of the draw as former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and last year’s semi-finalist Maria Sakkari.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Rafael Nadal would never choose to play Novak Djokovic as early as the quarter-finals, but given the uncertainty over his long-term foot problem, this year he will be delighted if he gets the opportunity.

Stefanos Tsitsipas probably has the biggest reason to smile following the draw, as last year’s runner-up has avoided the half featuring Djokovic, Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev.

Iga Swiatek has a challenging path to a second French Open title, with another former champion in either Simona Halep or Jelena Ostapenko a potential fourth-round opponent.

And Emma Raducanu will be wary of any qualifier, who will have won three matches on the Roland Garros courts to reach a main draw in which the US Open champion will be making her debut.

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