French Open: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer likely to face each other in semis

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Paris: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the two longtime rivals could meet in the semi-finals as both have been placed in the same half of the draw for the French Open on Thursday.

Second seed Nadal is chasing a 12th title in Paris while 2009 champion Federer, seeded three, is playing in the tournament for the first time since 2015.

Rafael Nadal starts against qualifiers in the first two rounds while 37-year-old Federer, bidding to become the oldest Grand Slam title winner of all time, faces Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, ranked at 73. Top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic starts his campaign against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the world number 43.

In the women’s draw, top seed Naomi Osaka, bidding for a third successive Grand Slam title, opens against world 92 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.

However, either 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or two-time major winner and ex-world number one Victoria Azarenka await in a tricky second round for the 21-year-old Japanese star.

Three-time champion Serena Williams, chasing a record-equalling 24th major, begins against Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia.

Defending champion Simona Halep seeded three, plays Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in her first round match.

Venus Williams, unseeded this year, begins against ninth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova, the champion in Rome last weekend, starts against Madison Brengle of the United States.

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