Djokovic, Nadal could meet in quarter-finals
May 19 2022 11:52 PM
Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz returns the ball to Germany’s Alexander Zverev during the Madrid Open final o
Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz returns the ball to Germany’s Alexander Zverev during the Madrid Open final on May 8, 2022. At just 19, Alcaraz is bidding to become just the eighth teenager to win a Grand Slam title at the French Open which gets underway on Sunday. (AFP)

Reuters/ Paris

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and 13-times winner Rafael Nadal are on a quarter-final collision course at the French Open following the draw yesterday.
World number one Djokovic, back on the Grand Slam scene after being deported from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open following his decision not to have a Covid-19 vaccination, will start his campaign against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
He was drawn in the toughest half of the draw with Nadal as well as in-form Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz and world number three Alexander Zverev, who could clash in the last eight.
The French Open will operate at full capacity for the first time in three years after the last two tournaments were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s amazing to see all the fans who have already come here for the qualifications,” said Djokovic, who attended the draw ceremony at Roland Garros.
“I am very motivated to play my best tennis,” said two-time French Open champion and 20-time major winner Djokovic. “In Paris, I always play very strong. Last year, it was the toughest major that I had won.”
Djokovic had to twice come from two sets down last year to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the last-16 and Stefanos Tsitspas in the final having also beaten Nadal from a set behind in a bruising semi-final.
“Musetti, Rafa, Tsitsipas – every match lasted more than three hours, a lot of sets. It was exhausting but I loved the outcome.”
In the lower part of the draw, last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas faces a tricky first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who last year took Djokovic to five sets in the fourth round.
In the women’s draw, hot favourite Iga Swiatek, looking to secure her second French Open title in three years, could face former champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16. Ostapenko was the last player to beat the Polish world number one before she started her 28-match unbeaten streak, winning five titles before the start of the French Open on Sunday.
Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova is on a last-16 collision course with former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the lower part of the draw. Naomi Osaka has been drawn to face American Amanda Anisimova, the 27th seed.

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