Djokovic and Alcaraz set for potential clash in French Open semi-finals | Tennis News

Djokovic and Alcaraz set for potential clash in French Open semi-finals | Tennis News

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz have been placed in the same half of the French Open draw, raising the possibility of an exciting semi-final clash between the two players.
Djokovic, who is vying for his 23rd Grand Slam title and aiming to defend his Roland Garros crown, has been seeded third in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, marking the first time since 2005 that Nadal will not be participating in the tournament.
In the first round, Djokovic will face Aleksandar Kovacevic, ranked 114th in the world, in what will be Kovacevic’s debut in a Grand Slam main draw. This year’s French Open is also the first since 1998 without the presence of Nadal or the retired Roger Federer.

Djokovic, who recently turned 34, has been grappling with a recurring right elbow injury that has disrupted his performance on clay courts. He failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals in the three clay-court events he participated in this spring, resulting in him relinquishing the world number one ranking to Carlos Alcaraz.
Furthermore, Djokovic has dropped to third in the rankings, with Daniil Medvedev surpassing him after claiming the Italian Open title.

Both Alcaraz, the reigning US Open champion, and Medvedev will commence their campaigns at Roland Garros against qualifiers or lucky losers. Alcaraz is also on track to potentially face Stefanos Tsitsipas, the runner-up of the 2021 French Open, in the quarterfinals.
On the women’s side, defending champion Iga Swiatek will begin her title defence against Cristina Bucsa of Spain, who is currently ranked 67th in the world. Swiatek aims to become the first back-to-back women’s champion at the French Open in 16 years, but she is coming off a thigh injury that forced her to retire in Rome.

Swiatek is projected to face Coco Gauff, the runner-up of the 2022 French Open, in the quarterfinals, and a potential clash with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, the recent Italian Open winner, in the semi-finals.
“This is my favourite tournament. I always get this extra motivation to practise harder here. I’m really excited to be here,” Swiatek said during the draw ceremony.
Aryna Sabalenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, will kick off her campaign against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the opening round. Despite reaching at least the semi-finals in the other three Grand Slam tournaments, Sabalenka has never advanced beyond the third round in Paris.


Among other notable matches, third seed Jessica Pegula will face fellow American Danielle Collins, the finalist of the 2022 Australian Open, in the first round. Seventh seed Ons Jabeur could potentially meet Rybakina in the quarterfinals, as Jabeur aims to improve upon her runner-up finishes at Wimbledon and the US Open.
The French Open promises to deliver thrilling matches and captivating storylines as the world’s top players gather to compete for the prestigious Grand Slam title. Tennis enthusiasts can look forward to witnessing remarkable performances and intense battles on the clay courts of Roland Garros.
(With inputs from AFP)

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