French Open: Alcaraz, Djokovic drawn in same half; could meet in semi-finals

May 25, 2023

Paris, May 25 (IANS) World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz and No.3 Novak Djokovic were on Thursday drawn in the same half of the French Open men’s singles draw.

The Spaniard, who has captured three trophies on clay this season, could meet third seed Djokovic in the semi-finals, with 2021 finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas drawn in the 20-year-old’s quarter.

Alcaraz is making his third appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam, having advanced to the quarter-finals in 2022. The top seed will open against a qualifier and is seeded to play 14th seed Cameron Norrie in the fourth round.

Fifth seed Tsitsipas, who is in the same section as Felix Auger-Aliassime, is a potential quarter-final opponent for Alcaraz.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Italian Lorenzo Musetti are also in a stacked top quarter of the draw. Shapovalov is a potential third-round opponent for Alcaraz, while Musetti, who pushed Djokovic to five sets in Paris in 2021, is in the same section as Norrie.

Two-time champion Djokovic, who is aiming to win a record 23rd Grand Slam title in Paris, will start against American Aleksandar Kovacevic. The Serbian is in the same section as Hubert Hurkacz, with seventh seed Andrey Rublev a possible quarter-final opponent. Rublev captured the Monte-Carlo title last month and faces Laslo Djere in the first round.

On the other hand, Next GenATP American Ben Shelton is in the same section as Rublev. The 20-year-old Shelton, who reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, had never competed on red clay before this year. Shelton will face a tough opening test against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Second seed Daniil Medvedev anchors the bottom half of the draw. The 27-year-old rose to No. 2 in the ATP Rankings after winning his first clay-court title last week in Rome.

Medvedev’s victory in Italy ensured he would be seeded second in Paris, making it possible for Alcaraz and Djokovic to be drawn in the same half.

Medvedev will face a qualifier in the first round and could play Jannik Sinner or two-time semi-finalist Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals. The eighth-seeded Italian Sinner opens against Frenchman Alexandre Muller, while Zverev plays South African Lloyd Harris.

Sinner, currently 28-7 on the season, has reached three tour-level finals this year, including his second ATP Masters 1000 title match in Miami.

Last year’s finalist Casper Ruud, who has won nine of his 10 tour-level titles on clay, is seeded to meet Medvedev in the semi-finals. The Norwegian begins against a qualifier and is in the same quarter as Holger Rune, who Ruud beat in the quarter-finals last season.

Rune, who defeated Ruud en route to the Rome final, might face ninth seed Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. Tommy Paul is also in that section. The American, currently 11th in the ATP Live Race To Turin, advanced to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January.

A number of interesting first-round matches were drawn, with Madrid finalist Jan-Lennard Struff meeting the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Jiri Lehecka and Auger-Aliassime facing Italian Fabio Fognini. Former champion Stan Wawrinka starts against Albert Ramos-Vinolas, with their previous meeting coming in Paris in 2016.



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