Roger Federer missed out going up against his old foe Rafael Nadal in Rome, but the Roland Garros draw is making it possible for them to match up in the semifinals at Roland Garros. Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in Madrid, but he’s in the mix so we’ll see where the winds take us fans.
Rafael Nadal will start his campaign for a record-extending 12th title at the French Open against a qualifier. And if he makes it to the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam, another qualifier will be waiting.
The defending champion was handed what looked like quite an easy draw Thursday at Roland Garros stadium, where the Spanish player attended the ceremony and said he was happy with his form.
Nadal won his first title of the season last week at the Italian Open, where he looked close to his best after some uncharacteristic struggles on clay.
“It was an important title for me,” Nadal said. “I played very well throughout the tournament, I’m very happy to find myself in this situation.”
In the women’s draw, Simona Halep will open the defense of her title against Ajla Tomljanovic. Top-ranked Naomi Osaka, who seeks a third consecutive major championship, will be up against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová.
Coming to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year’s French Open, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was drawn into the top half of the draw with Osaka and Halep. She will take on Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round.
Osaka will be up against a tough opponent if she gets past Schmiedlova, facing the winner of a first-round match pitting 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko and former top-ranked player Victoria Azarenka.
Nadal, who last year became the first male player to win 11 titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, could meet his old foe Roger Federer in the semifinals. Federer, in his first French Open match since 2015, will face Lorenzo Sonego of Italy and could face Stefanos Tsitsipas in a potential quarterfinal matchup.
Federer is back on clay after skipping that part o the season for the past two years. He reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and Rome, where he withdrew because of a right leg injury.
Organizers announced before the draw that Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic had withdrawn from the tournament, which starts on Sunday.
Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem Draws – Roland Garros 2019
Rafael Nadal eyes a record-extending 12th French Open crown, while Novak Djokovic looks to hold all four Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros.
Nadal and Djokovic are in opposite halves of the men’s singles draw. No. 2 Nadal could face No. 3 Roger Federer in one semifinal, while No. 1 Djokovic would play No. 4 Dominic Thiem in the other if there aren’t any upsets in the first five rounds.
Nadal consolidated favorite status by winning his last tune-up event, the Italian Open, with a three-set victory over Djokovic in the final.
Djokovic won the previous week in Madrid, his first title since he smoked Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the Australian Open final.
Federer is playing clay for the first time in three years and Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. It’s the 10th anniversary of Federer’s lone French Open title, but he is not among the top favorites after quarterfinal losses in both of his tune-up events.
Felix Auger-Aliassime Hits Lyon Open Semifinals
Fourth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime hit 11 aces in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Steve Johnson on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Lyon Open.
The Canadian teenager will face top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili — who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 at the clay-court tournament, which serves as a warmup for the French Open.
In the other semifinal, Taylor Fritz will be up against Benoit Paire.
Fritz earned 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 win over second-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut and Paire upset third-seeded Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Semifinals
Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka defeated former champion Monica Puig 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Internationaux de Strasbourg clay-court tournament on Thursday.
The 11-th-ranked Sabalenka hit 30 winners to earn her first semifinal spot since February in St. Petersburg.
She will next face teenager Dayana Yastremska, who eased past Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-3.
The other semifinal will be an all-French matchup between fourth-seeded Caroline Garcia and Chloe Paquet.
Yulia Putintseva Hits Semifinals – Nuremberg Cup
Top-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan won the longest match of the WTA Tour season so far, overcoming Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2) on Thursday to reach the Nuremberg Cup semifinals.
Putintseva converted her first match point in a match that lasted 3 hours, 21 minutes against Friedsam, who is ranked No. 523 after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Putintseva, who is bidding for her first WTA singles title, will face Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals after the Romanian player defeated Serbian qualifier Nina Stojanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. It will be Cirstea’s second semifinal in three years at the clay-court tournament.
The second-seeded Katerina Siniakova will play Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek in the other semifinal.
Siniakova rallied to beat American Madison Brengle 1-6, 6-4, 6-0, while Zidansek defeated Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.