French Open: Nadal, Federer on Collision Course

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were placed in the same half of the draw for the French Open on Thursday meaning the two old foes could meet in the semifinals.

Second seed Nadal is chasing a 12th title in Paris while 2009 champion Federer, seeded three, is playing in the tournament for the first time since 2015 as he seeks a second title.

Nadal starts against qualifiers in the first two rounds while 37-year-old Federer, bidding to become the oldest Grand Slam title winner of all time, faces Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, ranked at 73.

Top seed and world No 1 Novak Djokovic starts his campaign against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the world number 43.

Djokovic, the 2016 champion, is bidding to become only the second man in history to hold all four Slams at the same time.

Only Rod Laver, who swept to calendar Slams in 1962 and 1969, has previously achieved the feat.

In the women’s draw, top seed Naomi Osaka, bidding for a third successive Grand Slam title, opens against world 92 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.

However, either 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or two-time major winner and ex-world No 1 Victoria Azarenka await in a tricky second round for the 21-year-old Japanese star.

Three-time champion Serena Williams, chasing a record-equalling 24th major, begins against Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia.

Defending champion Simona Halep, seeded three, plays Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in her first round match, while Venus Williams, unseeded this year, begins against ninth seed Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova, the champion in Rome last weekend, starts against Madison Brengle of the United States.

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