French Open 2022 draw: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal set for quarter-final clash; Carlos Alcaraz also in same half

13-time champion Rafael Nadal, defending champion Novak Djokovic and teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz have been drawn in the same half of the men’s singles at the 2022 French Open.

Nadal and Djokovic, who met in the epic semifinals last year, will meet in the quarterfinals, provided both stars overcome the first hurdles. The winner of that quarter-final match is likely to meet Alcaraz, who has raised hopes after a dream run in 2022.

Incidentally, Djokovic is all set to play in his first Grand Slam tournament as he was deported from Melbourne before the Australian Open in January following his decision not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Entering the French Open after winning the Italian Open title, the 20-time Grand Slam champion meets Yoshihito Nishioka. in the opening round.

5th-seeded Nadal will face Jordan Thompson in the opening round, while 6th-seeded Alcaraz will play a qualifier. All eyes will be on Nadal as the Spanish superstar has had his fair share of injury issues leading up to the Grrand Slam clay court.

Injury issues struck again in March when he suffered a stress fracture to his rib during his run to the Indian Wells final and the southpaw didn’t return to competition until this month in Madrid. In a further shock to his French Open hopes, Nadal was defeated in the Madrid quarter-finals by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz before losing to Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the Rome Masters, where he showed signs of a foot injury.

In the lower part of the draw, last year’s number two Stefanos Tsitsipas faces a difficult first round match against Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who took Djokovic to five sets in the fourth round last year.

World number two Daniil Medvedev could face compatriot Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals as Russian players are allowed to compete in Ukraine despite their country’s invasion.

Medvedev downplayed his chances of winning the distance at Roland Garros and said he needs to improve his play on clay. The world No. 2 lost in his first match at the Geneva Open, which also marked his comeback to the tour.

SWIATEK JUST ATTRACTS WOMEN

In the women’s draw, popular favorite Iga Swiatek, in pursuit of her second French Open title in three years, could face former champions Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16.

Ostapenko was the last player to beat the Polish number one in the world before starting her 28-game unbeaten run and winning five titles before the start of the French Open on Sunday.

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova is on a collision course of the last 16 with former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the lower part of the draw.

Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the tournament last year after skipping her media duties and citing mental health issues, has been recruited to take on American Amanda Anisimova, the 27th seed.


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