French Open Draw May Allow Serena Williams to Ease Into the Tournament

French Open Draw May Allow Serena Williams to Ease Into the Tournament

Karolina Pliskova, who vaulted to the No. 2 seeding after winning the Italian Open on Sunday, anchors the bottom quarter of the women’s draw, where she is joined by fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who is seeking a career Grand Slam. She won her third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year.

Novak Djokovic, who is the top seed on the men’s side and is seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, faces Hubert Hurkacz, a rangy, talented Pole who has gone from 88th to 43rd in the rankings this year. In the second round, Djokovic would face a qualifier or Sam Querrey, who defeated him at Wimbledon in 2016.

Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev and ninth-seeded Fabio Fognini, the recent Monte Carlo champion, loom as potential quarterfinal opponents for Djokovic. Last year’s runner-up, fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem, and eighth-seeded Juan Martín del Potro are potential semifinal opponents for Djokovic.

The 11-time champion Rafael Nadal is seeded second and has a considerably more favorable opening path: He will begin against a qualifier and would then face the winner of a match between two qualifiers.

Third-seeded Roger Federer, who is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, opens against the Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Lorenzo Sonego and could face the Budapest champion, No. 29 Matteo Berrettini, in the third round. Sixteenth-seeded Marco Cecchinato, a surprise semifinalist at the French Open a year ago, and 17th-seeded Diego Schwartzman are possible fourth-round opponents. Sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, who knocked Federer out in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, is a possible quarterfinal opponent.

The first seeded player Tsitsipas could face is No. 32 Frances Tiafoe, who got into the seedings on Thursday after the withdrawal of Milos Raonic. Had Tiafoe not obtained a last-minute seeding, this would have been the first Grand Slam event since 1973 with no seeded American man. John Isner, the top-ranked American man, at No. 10, has not played since the Miami Open final, where he sustained a stress fracture in his left foot.

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