Roland Garros draw: Federer lands in Nadal’s half

Published by Tennismash

BACK: Roger Federer is returning to Roland Garros in 2019; Getty Images
The Roland Garros men’s singles draw for 2019 is set – featuring a strong bottom half headlined by defending champion Rafael Nadal and world No.3 Roger Federer.

Returning to Roland Garros after a three-year hiatus, world No.3 Roger Federer will face world No.73-ranked Lorenzo Sonego in the opening round. Federer, the 2009 champion, has not previously played the 24-year-old Italian.

Federer has landed in the same quarter as sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who upset the 37-year-old earlier this year at the Australian Open, and Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka.

Tsitsipas plays German Maximilian Marterer in round one, while the No.24-seeded Wawrinka faces Slovak Jozef Kovalik.

Long-time rival Rafael Nadal looms as a potential semifinal opponent. Nadal, the No.2 seed who is targeting a record-extending 12th title on the Paris clay, faces a qualifier in his opening round.

Seventh seed Kei Nishikori is in Nadal’s quarter and faces French wildcard Quentin Halys in the opening round, with former world No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a potential second round opponent.

FEATURE: Nadal tops clay rankings in 2019

After assisting with the draw ceremony, Nadal inspected a new-look Court Phillipe-Chatrier alongside Tournament Director Guy Forget.

“I had my first training today and I had good sensations,” said the recently-crowned Rome champion.

“It was very important for me to play well in Rome, I hope it’s a good sign for Roland Garros.”

In the top half of the draw, world No.1 Novak Djokovic begins his campaign against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. The Serbian is aiming to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. Only two men – Rod Laver (1969) and Djokovic (2015-16) – have previously achieved the feat in the Open era.

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev, who is recapturing his form with a charge to the Geneva semifinals this week, plays Australian John Millman in the opening round. Last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem meets American wildcard Tommy Paul, while No.8 seed Juan Martin del Potro plays Chilean Nicolas Jarry.

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