Rafael Nadal, the 13-time French Open champion who’s searching for a fifth consecutive title at Roland Garros starting Sunday, bears an ill-fitting label in the males’s singles draw this yr: the No. three seed.
Nadal, whose indomitability on the clay in Paris has been all however inevitable, was positioned into the high half of the draw, that means match in opposition to top-seeded Novak Djokovic would are available the semifinals.
Nadal will likely be a heavy favourite in each match he performs at Roland Garros, the place he has a 100-2 file, however his path to a 14th title does embrace some hurdles. If he beats 62nd-ranked Alexei Popyrin in the first spherical, Nadal will face a Frenchman, both the veteran Richard Gasquet or the wild card Hugo Gaston. Gaston, 20, made a shock run to the fourth spherical of the French Open final yr, beating Stan Wawrinka earlier than shedding in 5 units to Dominic Thiem.
Nadal may face seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev, whom he misplaced to at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, in the quarterfinals earlier than what could be a extremely anticipated match in opposition to Djokovic in the semifinals.
Nadal beat Djokovic in the closing of the Italian Open this month, and dominated to win, 6-Zero, 6-2, 7-5, in the earlier French Open closing in October. Djokovic has tilted their rivalry in his favor, 29-28, by not shedding a match to Nadal on hardcourts or grass courts since the 2013 United States Open closing, however Djokovic misplaced their final 5 conferences on clay.
Roger Federer, who has performed solely three matches this season after present process two knee operations final yr, is seeded eighth and may face Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
Daniil Medvedev may show to be a shaky second seed, having gained simply one in every of his three matches on clay this yr. A hardcourts specialist, Medvedev has misplaced in the first spherical of the French Open in his earlier 4 appearances.
Medvedev faces Alexander Bublik in the first spherical, a participant who, like Medvedev, is inclined to monologue moodily when issues should not going his means.
The fourth-seeded Thiem, who gained final yr’s U.S. Open, is the solely Grand Slam occasion champion in the backside half of the draw. Thiem, a three-time French Open runner-up, will arrive in Paris having misplaced three of his final 4 matches.
Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, a champion at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, is in Medvedev’s quarter of the draw; sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev, a champion at the Madrid Masters this month, is in Thiem’s quarter.
American males occupy the three lowest seedings in the draw, with the American Taylor Fritz seeded 30th, John Isner 31st and Reilly Opelka 32nd. Isner opens in opposition to one other American, Sam Querrey.
No participant in the ladies’s draw has constructed up a French Open observe file near Nadal’s, however two gamers who gained their most up-to-date appearances discover themselves in the high half.
Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty, who gained her lone Grand Slam occasion title at the French Open in 2019 however missed final fall’s version of the match due to journey restrictions throughout the pandemic, is joined in the high half of the draw by the defending champion, Iga Swiatek, who’s seeded eighth after successful the Italian Open title this month.
Barty opens in opposition to the American Bernarda Pera. She may additionally face a tough check in the fourth spherical, in opposition to both 13th-seeded Jennifer Brady, the Australian Open runner-up in February, or 17-year-old Coco Gauff, who’s seeded 24th after successful her second profession title final week in Parma, Italy.
Swiatek, who opens in opposition to her shut buddy Kaja Juvan, may face 2016 French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the fourth spherical. In the quarterfinals, Swiatek may see fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin in a rematch of final yr’s closing, although Kenin has struggled this season and has a tough opening spherical check in opposition to the 2017 champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
Serena Williams, seeded seventh, is on the backside half of the draw, together with second-seeded Naomi Osaka. Williams and Osaka had been dealt favorable attracts, however neither has produced a robust consequence on clay this yr. Each is 1-2 on the floor.
Williams, who’s searching for her 24th Grand Slam occasion title, opens in opposition to the 74th-ranked veteran Irina-Camelia Begu.
Osaka introduced on Wednesday that she wouldn’t take part in information conferences at the match, writing, “I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.” Though her confidence could also be low from taking part in poorly on clay, her draw at the French Open proved favorable. She opens in opposition to 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig, and then will face both 102nd-ranked Ana Bogdan or a qualifier in the second spherical. The solely seeded participant Osaka may play in the first week of the match, 27th-seeded Alison Riske, has not gained a match since August.
Aryna Sabalenka, seeded third, and Bianca Andreescu, seeded sixth, be part of Williams and Osaka on the backside half of the draw.
As is commonly the case, there are a lot of high-profile ladies’s matches in the first spherical, together with 10th-seeded Belinda Bencic in opposition to final yr’s shock semifinalist, Nadia Podoroska, and 15th-seeded Victoria Azarenka in opposition to the 2009 champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Sloane Stephens, the 2018 runner-up, will open in opposition to Carla Suárez Navarro, the Spanish veteran who’s returning to competitors after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma.