Djokovic to play France's Herbert, Swiatek faces qualifier at French Open

3 weeks ago 34

PARIS : Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for a 25th Grand Slam crown against local hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert, while top-ranked Iga Swiatek kicks off her French Open title defence against a qualifier, following the draw on Thursday.

Djokovic has struggled in the first half of 2024 and is yet to win a title this year. The Serbian was knocked out of the Italian Open in the third round this month after suffering a freak head injury.

The world number one, who is competing in this week's Geneva Open, will be looking to put that disappointment behind him and get his season back on track in Paris, where he could meet Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals in a rematch of last year's final.

Unseeded record 14-times winner Rafa Nadal, who missed his favourite Grand Slam tournament due to injury last year, faces a tough test against Alexander Zverev in the first round after plummeting down the rankings during an extended spell on the sidelines.

Two-times Grand Slam champion and last year's losing semi-finalist Carlos Alcaraz begins against a qualifier, while newly-crowned Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner faces American Christopher Eubanks.

In the women's draw, defending champion and world number one Swiatek is in a hot streak of form after winning both the Madrid Open and Italian Open, and is favourite to claim her fourth title at Roland Garros.

However, the Pole could face a number of tough opponents in her quarter-final, including four-times Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, Miami Open winner Danielle Collins and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

World number two Aryna Sabalenka meets Erika Andreeva while Elena Rybakina, who reached the semi-finals in Madrid but was forced to pull out of Rome due to illness, takes on Belgium's Greet Minnen.

U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff, who reached the final of the French Open in 2022, will play a qualifier in the first round and could face Ons Jabeur in a mouth-watering quarter-final clash.

(Writing by Aadi Nair and Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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