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Sport Nadal faces tough path to French final, Wawrinka takes on Murray in round one

21:41  24 september  2020
21:41  24 september  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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a man hitting a ball with a racket: ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open © Reuters/CLIVE BRUNSKILL ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal, who is seeking a record-extending 13th French Open title and a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam singles crown, was handed a relatively tough path to this year's final at Roland Garros when the draw was made on Thursday.

The Spaniard will take on Bulgaria's Egor Gerasimov in the first round and faces a potential last-eight clash with U.S. Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, who has never made it past the quarter-finals at the claycourt Grand Slam.

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Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year's runner-up and U.S Open winner Dominic Thiem.

Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face Swede Mikael Ymer in the first round, where Swiss 16th seed and former champion Stan Wawrinka will take on Briton Andy Murray in the hottest opener.

Djokovic, who was ejected from the U.S. Open after he inadvertently hit a line judge in the throat with a ball after a point, has an easier route to the final than Nadal after being drawn in the same half as Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev.

Canadian Milos Raonic, the world number 20, pulled out, organisers said.

Serena Williams, hoping to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, will start her campaign against fellow American Kristie Ahn.

Andy Murray and Jo Kona handed tough French Open opening round draws

  Andy Murray and Jo Kona handed tough French Open opening round draws Andy Murray and Jo Konta will be given blasts of the past and future at the French Open next week after being handed the most awkward of first round tasks. Murray meets the past in the form of Stan Wawrinka, the last player he met at Roland Garros in what was the final match he played before his career was engulfed by hip problems.Konta, semi-finalist of 2019, will get a first look at the precocious talent of Coco Gauff, in what will be the Paris debut of the 16 year-old American. While clay is not Gauff's strong suit it is only the beginning of what looks like a very difficult draw for the GB number one.

The sixth seed, who was drawn in the same half as top seed Simona Halep, faces a potential fourth-round clash with U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka.

World number one and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty has pulled out of the tournament citing the coronavirus pandemic and a troubled preparation.

With Switzerland's Belinda Bencic a last-gasp withdrawal, only six of the top 10 in the WTA rankings will start the tournament.

The tournament was rescheduled from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 27-Oct. 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year's French Open will already go down in history because of the circumstances," French federation president Bernard Giudicelli said.

"The key words of Roland Garros 2020 are resilience and responsibility."

It will be the first year with a retractable roof at the French Open.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

Kyrgios and Courier join defence of Murray following criticism .
Friends and allies of Andy Murray rallied round him on Monday in the wake of comments from former world No 1 Mats Wilander questioning whether he is right to maintain his latest comeback. In the wake of his heavy defeat by Stan Wawrinka in the French Open first round, Wilander’s views were branded ‘pathetic’ by Dani Vallverdu, coach of the Swiss player. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

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