Tennis

Potential Shapovalov, Nadal blockbuster highlights French Open main draw

Canada's Denis Shapovalov will have to do what many have failed to do at the French Open if he hopes to win his first Grand Slam. The Richmond Hill, Ont., native is seeded 24th and could play the 10-time champion and overwhelming favourite Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

Canadian star could play Spaniard in 4th round matchup

Denis Shapovalov, left, fell to Rafael Nadal in their last meeting at last week's Italian Open. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Canada's Denis Shapovalov will have to do what many have failed to do at the French Open if he hopes to win his first Grand Slam. 

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native is seeded 24th and could play the 10-time champion and overwhelming favourite Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

Shapovalov will open against the 58th seed John Millman while Nadal takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov in his first-round match.

Nadal is arriving in Paris on the back of another impressive clay-court season. He is 19-1 on his favourite surface, having lost just one match in the Madrid Open quarterfinals this month against Dominic Thiem.

"Having enjoyed the success I had over the last couple of weeks helps to be here with a bit more confidence," Nadal said at the draw.

Nadal is trying to become only the second player, male or female, in tennis history to win 11 singles titles at any Grand Slam event after Margaret Court, who won the Australian Open 11 times.

The seventh-seeded Thiem, who ended Nadal's winning streaks on clay of 21 consecutive wins and 50 consecutive sets won in Madrid, will face a qualifier in the first round. He is in second-seeded Alexander Zverev's quarter and can't meet Nadal before the final.

Former champion Novak Djokovic was drawn in the same half as Thiem and Zverev. He will open against a qualifier.

Williams, Sharapova could meet in 4th round

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova could meet in the fourth round of the French Open thanks to the draw on Thursday.

But a matchup between three-time champion Williams and two-time champion Sharapova is far from guaranteed.

Williams resumes her comeback after maternity leave following two consecutive losses in March. She will open against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

This will be Williams' first Grand Slam event since giving birth to her daughter in September. She hasn't played at a Grand Slam since winning the Australian Open in January 2017 while pregnant.

Ranked No. 453, Williams entered Roland Garros under the WTA's protected ranking rule but has not been granted a seed by organizers. Without a seeding, Williams was drawn in the same quarter as Sharapova, who was seeded 28th.

While nobody really knows what to expect from Williams, Sharapova had a chance to fine-tune her clay-court game last week in Rome and made it to the semifinals beating reigning French Open Jelena Ostapenko and losing a three-setter to top-ranked Simona Halep

Halep will open against Alison Riske, and Ostapenko will take on Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine.

The hard-hitting Ostapenko, who last year became the first unseeded player to win the women's title since 1933, was handed a tricky draw as she could face former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

The tournament starts on Sunday.

With files from CBC Sports

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