Paris, May 20 (IANS) World No.1 tennis star Novak Djokovic has a potential semi-final encounter with clay expert Rafael Nadal, while defending champion Serena Williams could face Angelique Kerber on course to the women’s singles final after the draw took place at the French Open on Friday.
The top-seeded Serbian Djokovic, who holds 11 Grand Slam titles but still seeks his first ever French Open title, will open his campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Lu Yen-Hsun, the world No.100, and will avoid all top ten seeds except Czech Tomas Berdych before the semi-finals, reports Xinhua.
Nadal, having been promoted to fourth seed after Roger Federer withdrew, could meet local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals as the Spaniard is chasing his 10th Roland Garros title.
In the other half of the men’s singles draw, second-seeded Scottish Andy Murray is heading to a possible quarter-final collision against fifth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, while defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka is on course to meet Canada’s big server Milos Raonic in the last eight.
France’s hopes of triumph for the first time since Yannick Noah in 1983 were hit on Friday morning when former semi-finalist Gael Monfils pulled out due to virus infection.
On the women’s front, top seed American Serena, who takes on Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in her opening round, has been drawn into the same quarter with former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka before taking on Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber in a potential semi-final clash.
Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland heads the draw in the other half with Simona Halep in the same quarter and Roberta Vinci and Garbine Muguruza wait in the other quarter.
With the ailing U.S. Open semi-finalist Peng Shuai dropping to the 464th in the WTA rankings and having failed to earn a wild card from the French organisers, three Chinese enter directly into the French Open main draw.
Australian Open quarter-finalist Zhang Shuai picks up Kazakhstan veteran Galina Voskoboeva in her opening match and the 2014 Asian Games champion Wang Qiang faces French wild card holder Tessah Andrianjafitrimo.
The French Open, featuring a total prize money of 32,017,500 euros ($35886814.88), starts on Sunday and ends on June 5 with the men’s singles final.