Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz learn path to French Open meeting

Iga Swiatek was meanwhile handed a tough draw and landed in the same side as Elena Rybakina

Jamie Braidwood
Thursday 25 May 2023 14:09 BST
Djokovic and Alcaraz could meet in the semi-finals
Djokovic and Alcaraz could meet in the semi-finals (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz could meet in the French Open semi-finals after they were drawn in the same half of the men’s tournament, while defending women’s champion Iga Swiatek was handed a tough route to the final.

Djokovic and Alcaraz have met just once since the Spaniard burst onto the scene on his way to becoming world No 1 last season, with the 20-year-old winning in three sets at the Madrid Open last April.

Alcaraz was absent for Djokovic’s record-equalling Australian Open victory in January due to injury, while the 36-year-old Djokovic missed Alcaraz’s maiden grand slam win at the US Open win last season because of his Covid vaccine status.

With 14-time champion Rafael Nadal absent from Roland Garros for the first time since 2005, the men’s tournament is wide open ahead of the second grand slam of the season.

Daniil Medvedev’s surprise victory at the Italian Open last week meant Djokovic, who will attempt to win a record 23rd grand slam title in Paris, dropped to third in the rankings, with Alcaraz remaining the top seed in the draw.

British No 1 Cameron Norrie could face Alcaraz in the fourth round, with former French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas a potential opponent in the last-eight. The Spaniard, who has won three titles on clay this season, including Madrid and Barcelona, will play a qualifier or lucky loser in the opening round.

Djokovic, meanwhile, will begin his quest for a third French Open title against the world No 114 Aleksandar Kovacevic and faces a kinder draw until a potential meeting with the Monte Carlo champion Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.

There are three British men in the singles draw - with Norrie starting his campaign against the fiery Frenchman Benoit Paire, Dan Evans facing Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Jack Draper meeting Tomas Etcheverry.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova - the winners of the last three women’s singles titles - could meet in the fourth round, with Victoria Azarenka also a potential opponent at that stage.

Swiatek is also projected to play Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals - in what would be a rematch of last year’s final - while the Pole also landed in the same half of the draw as Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina - who has won all three of their meetings this season.

Australian Open champion and world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the first round, and landed in the same quarter of the draw as France’s top-ranked player Caroline Garcia.

There were no British women in the singles draw, while Kyle Edmund has withdrawn from the tournament due to a wrist injury.

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