PARIS — The Canadian Denis Shapovalov will have an appointment with the Dane Holger Rune in the first round of the French Open tennis tournament, the organizers announced Thursday after the draw to find out the main men’s and women’s draws of the tournament.
Shapovalov, the 14th seed of the tournament, will therefore face for the first time in his career Rune, 40th player in the world, on clay in Paris.
For his part, Félix Auger-Aliassime, seeded ninth, will have an appointment with a qualified player. The Quebecer could find on his way in the round of 16 the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and in the next round the favorite of the tournament, the Serbian Novak Djokovic.
The latter, who is the defending champion at Roland-Garros, finds himself in the same portion of the table as Nadal and his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic had disposed of Nadal in the quarter-finals of the tournament last year.
Nadal has 21 career Grand Slam titles, one more than Djokovic and Roger Federer. This will be the ‘Djoker’s’ first major tournament since the US Open last year. He was unable to play at the Australian Open due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
If a Djokovic-Nadal duel materializes in the quarter-finals, then the winner could cross paths with the sixth seed, Alcaraz, in the semi-finals. Alcaraz, just 19, recently won the Madrid Open on clay and became the youngest tennis player to break into the world top-10 since Nadal in 2005.
Alcaraz could face third seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals. The other potential quarter-finals on the men’s side could pit Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (no 2) against his compatriot Andrey Rublev (no 7) – a duel that may never take place at Wimbledon due to the sanctions imposed by the tournament organizers against Russian players due to the invasion of Ukraine — and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas to Norwegian Casper Ruud (no 8).
Fernandez vs. Mladenovic
Among the ladies, Leylah Annie Fernandez will start her tournament against the local favorite, Kristina Mladenovic. The Quebecer, 17th seed, has never crossed swords in her career against Mladenovic, 110th in the world.
For her part, Ontario’s Bianca Andreescu, 72nd racket in the world, will face a qualified player in the first round. The 2019 US Open champion may next face Fernandez in the third round.
British Columbian Rebecca Marino, ranked 116th in the world, could join Fernandez and Andreescu in the women’s main draw. However, she will have to win against the Australian Seone, 223rd in the world, in the third and final round of qualifying on Friday morning.
In addition, the return of Naomi Osaka to Paris is likely to be full-bodied since she will be confronted with the player who had beaten her at the Australian Open, Amanda Anisimova.
Osaka has won four career Grand Slam titles and once held No. 1 in the world, before slipping to No. 38 due to an extended hiatus. In particular, she took a break to restore her psychological health, after withdrawing from the French Open tournament before her second round match last year due to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Since she is not a seed at the French Open, she could have faced a seed in the first round. This is the reason why she will cross swords with Anisimova (no 27).
The latter had defeated Osaka 4-6, 6-3 and 7-6 (5) in the third round at Melbourne Park in January.
Other potential quarter-finals in Paris include those between world no. Ons Jabeur versus Maria Sakkari.
The French Open will officially start on Sunday.