Roland Garros draw: Osaka faces tough path to third Slam

Published by TenniSmash

Naomi Osaka is looking to make it three out of three at the Slams; Getty Images

World No.1 Naomi Osaka will need to be at her very best if she is to fight her way through a packed half of the draw at the French Open.

The Japanese player is bidding for a third straight major title following victories at the US Open and Australian Open.

Osaka will begin her bid for a third straight major title against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, before a testing second round against either 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or former No.1 Victoria Azarenka.

Beyond that, Caroline Garcia, Madison Keys, Serena Williams and Ash Barty could provide the opposition before the semifinal stage.

World No.2 Simona Halep defeated Sloane Stephens to finally land her first major title 12 months ago and remains one of the leading candidates to lift the trophy once again.

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However, 2019 Race leader Petra Kvitova is a potential quarterfinal opponent, with Osaka, 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams and growing force Barty among the other names in her half.

Halep has yet to win a title this year but has shown solid form, and she will open her Roland Garros campaign against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Kvitova will begin against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, with the dangerous Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus potentially waiting in round four.

Lack of match play means No.10 seed Williams is something of an unknown quantity and the American will take on Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko in round one.

Williams could meet Canadian rising star Bianca Andreescu in round three and No.8 seed Barty in round four.

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Rome champion and No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova anchors the bottom half of the draw, with claycourt expert Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber – chasing a career Grand Slam – and last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens filling out the top eight seeds.

Pliskova meets Madison Brengle in round one, Bertens takes on Pauline Parmentier, Kerber faces Anastasia Potapova and Stephens is up against Misaki Doi.

No.9 Elina Svitolina takes on Venus Williams in an eye-catching first-round contest,





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